Record-breaking cold and winter storms across much of the U.S. have had a significant impact on blood and platelet donations. The American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals, especially those with type O blood, to give now to ensure blood products are available for patient emergencies when help can’t wait.
Extreme winter weather has forced the cancellation of hundreds of Red Cross blood drives in about 30 states and caused more than 15,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. In Ohio, nearly 700 donations have gone uncollected as more than 20 blood drives canceled across the state.
Every day thousands of patients rely on lifesaving blood donations. The need for blood is constant, even during snowstorms and the COVID-19 pandemic. To help ensure lifesaving patient care isn’t impacted, individuals are urged to make appointments to donate in the coming days and weeks by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
Meredith Reinhard of Willoughby donated for the first time Feb. 9 at a blood drive in Warrensville Heights. “As a first year PA student beginning in May, my goal for 2021 was to give back and go through the experience of donating blood,” said Reinhard. “I love that I get to help save three lives and find out my blood type.”
Info for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms.
Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for high levels of COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
March 2: 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Ruihley Park Pavilion, 320 W. Holland St.
March 1: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Swanton American Legion, 200 S. Hallett Ave.
March 9: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., St. Caspar Church, 1205 N. Shoop Ave.