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.

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. 

Upcoming blood donation opportunities are:

Dufur — Nov. 18, 1-6 p.m., Dufur High School, 802 N.E. Fifth St.

Maupin — Nov. 19, 12:30-5:30 p.m., Maupin Civic Center, 507 Grant Ave.

• The Dalles — Nov. 27, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, 3350 Columbia View Drive

Hood River — Nov. 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Elks Lodge, Third and Cascade streets

Eligible individuals are urged to make an appointment to donate blood now to help patients in need by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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 As a thank-you for helping meet the need for blood donations through Dec. 15, Suburban Propane is offering blood, platelet and plasma donors a chance to win an Outdoor Living Experience, powered by Propane, to enable a lucky winner to enjoy socially distanced celebrations with family and friends this holiday season. The prize includes a propane-powered pizza oven, fire pit, outdoor heater and stipend towards propane.

Paul Sullivan, senior vice president at the Red Cross, said, “While we have certainly experienced unparalleled hardships this year, we have also witnessed great acts of kindness — like COVID-19 survivors rolling up their sleeves to share their antibodies with patients battling the illness. Donating blood, plasma or platelets is an act of kindness that truly makes a lifesaving difference.”

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