Red Cross needs donations to ensure diverse blood supply

The American Red Cross reports that it needs people of all races and ethnicities to donate blood to help ensure a blood supply as diverse as the patients who depend on it.

For a small percentage of the population, finding someone else with the same blood type can be difficult. While the vast majority of people have types A, B, O or AB blood, some blood types are unique to certain racial and ethnic groups, so a diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of a diverse patient population.

Patients who require frequent blood transfusions as part of their treatment, like those with sickle cell disease or other lifelong blood disorders, often need close blood type matches to prevent complications from their transfusion therapy.

Local residents are urged to make an appointment to donate by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Organizations interested in signing up to host a blood drive this fall or winter are encouraged to visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

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 they developed symptoms. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

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.

Red Cross officials said blood drives and donation centers follow 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.

There are several opportunities during the month of September to donate blood in La Porte County:

La Crosse

9/30/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Center of LaCrosse, 100 S. Washington

La Porte

9/23/2020: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., La Porte County Fairgrounds, 2581 W. State Rd. 2

9/25/2020: 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., La Porte County Fairgrounds, 2581 W. State Rd. 2

9/26/2020: 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Masonic Lodge, 820 Jefferson Ave.

9/29/2020: 1 – 6 p.m., Bethany Lutheran Church, 102 G St.

Michigan City

9/17/2020: noon – 6 p.m., St. John’s United Church of Christ, 101 St. John Rd.

Westville

9/30/2020: 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Legion, 107 N. Flynn Rd.

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