The American Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to band together to give blood or platelets and help ensure a stable blood supply for patients this holiday season.

 The traditional slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s comes as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Required medical treatments and emergencies don’t pause for the holidays or a widespread coronavirus outbreak. 

Locally, there are two donation events coming up in the month of November. On Nov. 20, a blood drive will take place at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, 207 County Road 23 NW, Isanti, from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Nov. 30, Cambridge Culver’s will host a drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

In thanks for making time to donate around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood Nov. 25-28 will receive an exclusive Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, courtesy of Suburban Propane, while supplies last.

 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 an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. 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.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. 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.

For more information, contact the American Red Cross at redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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