North Platte Community College will host an American Red Cross blood drive Monday, Jan. 18 on its south campus.

The drive is open to the public. It is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in the concessions area outside the McDonald-Belton gymnasium.

Appointments are encouraged for social distancing. They can be made by calling Jason Osmotherly, the college’s assistant director of student life, leadership and diversity, at 535-3762, or by downloading the free 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.

The need

According to the Red Cross, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donations as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require blood products.

For a limited time, all blood, platelet and plasma donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Antibody testing will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether the individual developed symptoms.

Donations will be sent to a laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. 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.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within 7-10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

Blood drive safety precautions

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their 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. 

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.