LEAD — As the pandemic causes people to skip traveling and change family gatherings during the holidays, there are still three ways to commemorate the giving season and help support patients in need: donate blood, platelets or COVID plasma, also called convalescent plasma. Donating is another way families can come together to share their good health with patients in need, while socially distancing and practicing other safety measures. Vitalant will host a blood drive from 2-4:15 p.m., Nov. 30, at the Lead-Deadwood High School located at 320 South Main St. in Lead. As a thank you, all those who come to give will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card by email.
Blood donation is an essential activity
The U.S. Surgeon General and Federal Emergency Management Agency have designated blood, platelet and convalescent plasma donation as essential activities during the pandemic. Right now, the need for donations is great as nearly 2,000 Vitalant blood drives have already been canceled during November and December, including 21 in Rapid City, due to schools transitioning to virtual learning and businesses in work-from-home situations. Yet the patient need continues.
Emergency need for convalescent plasma donations
As new coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., the need for antibody-rich convalescent plasma donations from those recovered from COVID-19 has reached emergency levels. Antibodies within convalescent plasma can give an extra boost to patients battling the disease. People from the same household who have recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to help patients by giving together.
All donations are tested for COVID-19 antibodies
Vitalant tests all blood and platelet donations for COVID-19 antibodies—and informs donors of the results—to find potential donors who could give convalescent plasma. In fact, donors whose blood tests positive for antibodies can help a COVID-19 patient with their plasma while their other blood components could help additional patients. Red blood cells help carry oxygen throughout the body and platelets help blood clot. Testing positive for antibodies also puts donors on a unique track to regularly give convalescent plasma to help even more COVID-19 patients.
How to give
To learn more and schedule an appointment to give, please visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825). All eligible donors, especially those recovered from COVID-19 or with type O blood, are urged to make an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead. Vitalant continues to deploy additional precautionary measures to ensure donor, patient and staff safety during the pandemic.
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