November blood drive tests for COVID-19 antibodies

Posted at 1:32 PM, Nov 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 12:30:30-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Living through a pandemic brings up a lot of questions. For some people, one of those questions is -- have I had COVID-19 but just not experienced any symptoms?

The Red Cross is here to help settle restless minds.

It has been going on for a few months, but continuing forward, if you donate blood to the Red Cross, your blood donation will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. In short, the antibody test will tell donors whether or not their immune system has responded to the virus.

The CDC says antibody testing can help determine whether someone has developed proteins to fight off infection, but the Red Cross cautions a positive result does not mean you're immune. It's also different from a diagnostic test, which determines whether you currently have the disease.

Since implementing the new initiative, the Red Cross says they have seen a lot more first-time blood donors.

"One additional point that we're making is anybody that does test positive for COVID-19 antibodies could also potentially help the Red Cross as a convalescent plasma donor, which is really essential as more and more people test positive for this virus and are in hospital settings around the country the demand for convalescent plasma really has skyrocketed. So this is, from our perspective, a win-win for the community as we provide valuable information while making sure the Red Cross has the supplies that we need to support patients battling a variety of conditions," said Communications Director and National Spokesperson for American Red Cross, Jonathan McNamara.

McNamara says the results will be available seven to 10 days after the donation and donors will be notified by logging into their online account or phone app.

You can schedule an appointment online, through the app, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.