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Red Cross blood donors have new opportunities

Plasma from whole blood donations made through the American Red Cross that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions, according to a press release. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood now to help ensure coronavirus patients and others who depend on transfusions have needed blood products this fall.

In April, the Red Cross began collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma from previously diagnosed individuals who could only give at one of approximately 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country. Convalescent plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that may help the most critical patients actively fighting this virus. Now, whole blood donations made at any Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center could be helpful in the effort.

“Donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies now undergo secondary testing to confirm antibody results, and that enables the Red Cross to then potentially use the plasma from those donations for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross biomedical services. “With approximately 2% of the U.S. population testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, every donation is important to ensure patients with coronavirus have access to every treatment option available to them.”

The Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to schedule an appointment, download the free Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device, the release stated.

In thanks, the Red Cross is offering a $1,000 Amazon.com gift card to five winners who give in October. Terms and conditions apply; visit rcblood.org/unite. Additionally, those who give by the end of September will receive a free haircut coupon by email to participating Sport Clips Haircuts locations. More information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/Sport-Clips.

Upcoming blood drives in the Tribune’s coverage area are:

• 1 to 7 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 S. Washington Ave. in Albert Lea

• 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Wells American Legion, 145 W. Franklin in Wells

• Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at Bridge Community Church, 2016 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea

• 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Bricelyn Community Center, 309 N. Main St. in Bricelyn

• 1 to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at New Richland City Hall, 203 Broadway Ave. N. in New Richland.