Local nonprofit blood center Blood Assurance will continue to offer free testing for COVID-19 antibodies to blood donors through September. Blood Assurance is also currently in need of O-positive, O-negative, B-negative, A-positive and AB-negative red cell donors as well as platelet donors. They are encouraging community members to give blood to help local patients in need.
Donors need to be aware this is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19 infection and if they believe they may be currently infected to please not give blood and instead consider visiting a healthcare provider. It is possible for this test to provide a falsely negative or falsely positive result and not all people make antibodies when exposed to COVID-19. What a positive test indicates is that the donor may currently have or previously had COVID-19 and have developed antibodies to the virus. Blood Assurance also encourages anybody who receives a positive test to continue taking all U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended steps to protect themselves and others from the infection by wearing a mask, social distancing and frequently washing hands. It is currently unknown if the presence of these antibodies will protect the body from contracting COVID-19 again or how long the antibodies remain in the blood. Blood Assurance is taking steps to ensure the health of its donors and is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak nationally and in its service area. Special protocols are in place including extra cleaning and keeping donors and staff distanced. Blood Assurance is also asking all donors to please wear a mask at their next donation. Blood Assurance will be providing masks for donors if they do not have one with them. Individuals are not at risk to contract COVID-19 through blood donation or transfusion and it is only transferred by respiratory droplets in a cough or sneeze. Blood drives are a safe and sanitary environment and are not considered a mass gathering. Donors can save time by answering their questions before their appointment with the Blood Assurance QuickScreen app. To download the app, visit bloodassurance.org/quickscreen. Blood Assurance is taking donations by appointment only to ensure social distancing and to schedule an appointment at a donor center or blood drive, donor can visit www.bloodassurance.org, call (800) 962-0628 or text BAGIVE to 999777.