To ensure a stable blood supply during this holiday season, the American Red Cross urges healthy donors to make an appointment to give on Nov. 27 at the North Platte Holiday Blood Drive.

This is a great opportunity to give back during the Thanksgiving weekend, donor recruiter Amanda J. (Koubek) Wehnes said.

The drive will be from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday at the American Red Cross Donation Center, 111 S. Cottonwood St. in North Platte.

Traditionally, there is a slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, which will increase the challenges to the nation’s blood supply created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Required medical treatments and emergencies don’t pause for the holidays or a widespread coronavirus outbreak, Wehnes said. As the pandemic continues, blood donation remains an essential activity for the health of our communities.

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 tee-shirt, courtesy of Suburban Propane, while supplies last.

 

How to donate

To schedule an appointment, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, or visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Use sponsor code: NorthPlatteNeb to donate to this drive.

All blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old 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.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma 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.

The COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within 1-2 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 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.