Red Cross in need of healthy donors

John Tobakos, left, converses Monday with Phlebotomist Jessica Ray as he gives blood during an American Red Cross community blood drive at Towne Mall in Elizabethtown. 

The American Red Cross is urging individuals to make blood donation appointments to make up for canceled blood drives because of recent winter storms.

According to a news release, healthy people, especially those with type O blood, are asked to give to ensure blood products are available for patients.

Recent winter weather has canceled “hundreds of Red Cross blood drives in 30 states, causing more than 15,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected,” the release said.

In the River Valley Blood Services Region, which includes Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana, 45 blood drives were canceled and more than 1,220 blood donations have been uncollected since the second week of February.

Individuals are being urged to make appointments to donate in the wnext days and weeks by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, going to RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Those who are 17 years old in most states (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health can donate blood.

The Red Cross also is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies and can help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.

Antibody test results are available within one to two weeks in the app or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive test result does not confirm infection or immunity.

However, individuals who do not feel well or believe they may have COVID-19 should postpone donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows 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.

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