CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Starting Monday, June 15, the American Red Cross will begin testing all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies.
On Monday, they were testing at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau.
The goal is to give donors a better idea if they have been exposed to the coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms.
Donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing.
A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within 7 to 10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. The test has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Red Cross said there continues to be an urgent need for blood donations as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require blood products.
In recent weeks, hospital demand for blood products has grown by 30 percent after sharply declining in early April amid this rapidly changing and complex public health crisis. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled as many businesses and community organizations remain closed.
The Red Cross is asking people to schedule an appointment to give blood if they are feeling healthy and well.
Individuals who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should not present to donate until they are symptom-free for 28 days.
Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).