NORFOLK, Va. - Starting Monday, the Red Cross is testing all blood, plasma, and platelet donations for COVID-19 antibodies as an urgent need for donations continues. The testing is free for the donors.
"We look at it as a win-win. It provides the public with some vital information," said Michelle Ellis Young, the Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Coastal Virginia.
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.
As hospitals have resumed elective surgeries, the need for donations has increased. "When a community suffers from a blood shortage that has a direct impact here, it could be someone's friend, someone's family member, a coworker, or someone that you engage with in some meaningful way," said Ellis Young.
Antibody test results will be posted seven to ten days after donations are collected. They'll be made available online and through an app called the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
You can schedule an appointment online, through the app, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.