More blood donations are needed after record-breaking cold and winter storms forced the cancellation of hundreds of American Red Cross blood drives in 30 states.
The cancellations caused more than 15,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected, according to a press release from the Red Cross.
The organization is urging healthy people, especially those with type O blood, to give now to ensure blood products are available for patient emergencies when help can’t wait.
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, the press release stated. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for high levels of COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.
The Red Cross does not test donors to diagnose illness. 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 collection 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.
Those who would like to donate can make an appointment 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.
Upcoming area blood drives include the following:
Feb. 24 – 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Cass County Memorial Hospital, 1501 E. 10th St., Atlantic
March 5 – 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Griswold High School, 20 Madison, Griswold
March 11 – 12-6 p.m., Atlantic YMCA, 1100 Maple St., Atlantic
Feb. 25 – 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Loess Hills Platelet Donation Center, 705 N. 16th St., Council Bluffs
Feb. 28 – 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Loess Hills Platelet Donation Center, 705 N. 16th St.
March 1 – 12-6 p.m., American Legion, 112 N. Elm St., Avoca
March 1 – 12-6 p.m., Green Hills Area Education Agency, 24997 Hwy 92, Council Bluffs
March 4 – 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Abraham Lincoln High School, 1205 Bonham Ave., Council Bluffs
March 9 – 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs