ATLANTA, Ga. (Dec. 15, 2020) — The American Red Cross and Atlanta Hawks have joined together this holiday season to remind people to take care of one another, sharing comfort and joy with hospital patients through the gift of blood donation. Health emergencies don’t pause for a pandemic or holiday celebrations. The Red Cross needs the help of blood donors across the country now to ensure patients continue to have access to lifesaving blood.
The 10th annual Atlanta Hawks Blood Drive – presented by Delta Air Lines, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive in Atlanta. All presenting donors will receive a special Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
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.
As the U.S. experiences a new surge in COVID-19 cases, the Red Cross is becoming increasingly concerned about the nation’s blood supply – including convalescent plasma. A convalescent plasma donation collects plasma from COVID-19 survivors because antibodies to the disease in their blood may help patients who are currently fighting the virus. Increased hospitalization of patients with coronavirus this fall and winter has caused the Red Cross to distribute a record number of COVID-19 plasma products to hospitals treating patients who are battling the virus.
“Blood donors have played a vital role in the lives of patients who have needed lifesaving transfusions during this pandemic, and patients continue to depend on donors each and every day,” said Ronnika A. McFall, spokesperson, American Red Cross. “There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, and the Red Cross urgently needs the help of donors and blood drive hosts to ensure blood products are readily available for patients. We thank our sponsors, Atlanta Hawks, Delta and State Farm Arena for helping us with this important mission.”
COVID-19 antibody testing of blood donations
The Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies which helps provide insight to donors concerning possible prior exposure to this virus. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within one to two weeks through our Red Cross Blood Donor App or on the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. As part of this effort, plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma. Each week, whole blood donors with COVID-19 antibodies are helping to contribute between 350-500 units of potentially lifesaving convalescent plasma for patients in need.
The Red Cross is not administering diagnostic tests intended to diagnose illness. As such, to protect the health and safety of our staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Blood donation safety precautions
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation 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.
How to donate blood
For more information and to make an appointment to donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. sponsor code: DeltaATL. Donors of all blood types are needed. 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, from a computer or mobile device on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.