With severe winter weather approaching Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana the American Red Cross encourages eligible blood and platelet donors to make an appointment to give once it is considered safe to travel, or for those in unaffected areas, to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to help restock the blood supply.

During times of inclement weather, road conditions and power outages often result in the cancellation of blood drives and a shortfall of blood and platelet donations. More than 20 Red Cross blood drives have already been canceled resulting in over 700 uncollected blood and platelet donations as a result of inclement weather and the impending storms, and more are expected in the coming days. The Red Cross must collect more than 2,600 platelet and nearly 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

“Even when we have cold weather conditions or snow and ice storms, patients are still in the hospital needing blood,” said Cyndi Dahl, regional donor services executive of the Red Cross River Valley Blood Services Region. “We urge all eligible donors to schedule an appointment to roll up a sleeve in the coming days and weeks when conditions improve or as soon as possible if you’re in unaffected areas. It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives and ensure medical treatments are not cancelled when severe weather hits.”

Donors who come to give in February will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card thanks to a $1 million donation from Amazon. Eligible donors are asked to make an appointment to give blood or platelets before the approaching storm or in the days following, once it is safe to do so. To schedule an appointment to donate, please use the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

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.

How to donate blood

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.

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 the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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