The American Red Cross is stepping up to help in the fight against COVID-19.  For a limited time, the agency will begin testing certain blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies; those test results will begin to shape the necessary research work towards finding a successful vaccine.  Participants will be able to obtain their testing results afterwards.

Samples will be pulled randomly by the American Red Cross at the time of the donation;  it doesn't matter whether or not the donor was exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or not, the samples and the tests will be performed randomly to get as successful a test pool as possible.  The pulled samples will be tested in the lab for the antibodies before being passed along to the general blood bank for use. According to the American Red Cross, the resulting tests "confirm infection or immunity".

The agency is careful to point out that they are not testing or screening the blood samples to diagnose illness.  They also remind would-be participants that if they have exhibited any sick symptoms recently, they should postpone their donation.  Donors should be symptom-free for 28 days and feeling well.

Participants can discover their results about a week-and-a-half later. The American Red Cross provides a donor app and portal on their website - where the results will be shared with the donor.

For a variety of reasons, blood donations have been down in the last few months.  While the shutdowns associated with the pandemic brought out fewer donors, the start up of elective surgeries in the last few weeks has also put a strain on blood supplies.  There are a variety of blood drives scheduled in our area over the next week or so according to news sources.  Here's a run-down:

  • June 22:  Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross:  2524 Maple Grove Road in Duluth - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
  • June 22:  Barnes Community Church:  3200 County Road N in Barnes - 12 Noon - 6:00 PM.
  • June 23:  Journey Christian Church:  1400 Washington Avenue in Cloquet - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
  • June 23:  United Presbyterian Congregational Church:  214 Vaughn Avenue in Ashland - 12 Noon - 6:00 PM.
  • June 24:  AmericInn:  3009 Lakeshore Drive in Ashland - 12 Noon - 6:00 PM.
  • June 26:  Legendary Waters Resort and Casino Event Center:  37600 Campground Road in Bayfield - 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

For complete details about the American Red Cross, click here to visit their website.

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