Beginning this week and for a limited time, the American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies.


“As an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is pleased to provide more information about COVID-19 to our valued donors,” said Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “If you are feeling healthy and well, please schedule an appointment to not only help saves lives but also learn about your potential exposure to COVID-19.”


Area blood drives coming up include 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 22 at Forest Products Supply Co, 701 S. Spencer, and 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 26 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N. Main.


Moundridge will host a drive from noon to 6 p.m. June 26 at Cloud 9 Venue, 205 S. Ave. A.


The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.


Antibody testing will indicate whether the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.


COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within seven to 10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. The test has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


There will be COVID-19 safety precautions in place at upcoming blood drives. The Red Cross asks individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.


Each Red Cross blood drive and donation will follows a set of standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff.


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.


All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.