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Blood donation remains essential amid COVID-19 pandemic

Blood donation opportunities are listed.

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Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

A year ago, many things in the world paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the need for blood never stopped. Today blood donations are just as essential, and the American Red Cross urges individuals who are healthy to make an appointment to donate blood .

More donors, especially those with type O blood, are needed now to ensure that patients have lifesaving blood products available for emergencies and everyday medical treatments. Schedule a blood donation appointment by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App , visiting RedCrossBlood.org , calling 800-733-2767 or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

March is Red Cross Month and the Red Cross is celebrating blood, platelet and plasma donors for stepping up to meet the constant need for blood amid the pandemic. In thanks for being a vital part of the organization’s mission, all who come to give March 15-26 will receive an exclusive Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Important COVID-19 information 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. Testing may also identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 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.

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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.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities March 15-31 include:

Baxter: Lakewood Church, 6284 Fairview Road N., 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 24, Brainerd High School drive;

Ironton: American Legion, 232 Fourth St., noon-6 p.m. March 29;

Merrifield: Clow Stamping Company, 11592 Half Moon Drive, 1-6 p.m. March 26;

Pequot Lakes: American Legion, 4435 Main St., noon-6 p.m. March 30;

Little Falls: Camp Ripley, 15000 Highway 115, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25.

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