MADISON, Wis. (Oct. 7, 2020) — The American Red Cross reminds the University of Wisconsin-Madison that we are all in this together. With the coronavirus having no end date, make plans to give blood at the Badgers Give Back Blood Drive Oct. 27-29 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Nick, 797 W. Dayton St., in Madison. Appointments are strongly encouraged to abide with social distancing guidelines.
All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
Plasma from whole blood donations made through the American Red Cross that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood now to help ensure coronavirus patients and others who depend on transfusions have needed blood products this fall.
In April, the Red Cross began collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma from previously diagnosed individuals, who could only give at one of approximately 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country. Convalescent plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that may help the most critical patients actively fighting this virus. Now, whole donations made at any Red Cross blood drive (including the Badger’s Give Back Blood Drive) or blood donation center could be helpful in this effort.
Donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies now undergo secondary testing to confirm antibody results, and that enables the Red Cross to then potentially use the plasma from those donations for COVID-19 patients. With approximately 2% of the U.S. population testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, every donation is important to ensure patients with coronavirus have access to every treatment option available to them.
This drive comes as the Red Cross has a constant need for blood and encourages healthy individuals to schedule and keep blood donation appointments in the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply for patients throughout this coronavirus pandemic.
“UW-Madison students, alumni, and staff have done an incredible job donating blood in the past and it always helps ensure that we are providing the blood our hospitals and patients need,” said Roxanne Berra, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross Badger Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “We’re asking all Bucky fans and alumni to show their school pride by giving the gift of life for patients in need.”
The need for blood is constant. On average, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day to meet the needs of patients in Wisconsin and across the country. Blood donors of all types are needed. Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact. Donated blood may be used to help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. There is no substitute for donated blood products.
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 they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. 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. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
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.
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.