To help fill the constant need for blood in the community, the Riverside College of Health Careers will partner with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive on Friday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on its campus, located at 316 Main Street in Newport News.

Donors who participate will receive free COVID-19 antibody testing, which may provide critical insight into whether donors may have possibly been exposed to this coronavirus.

The antibody test screens for antibodies in a donor’s blood, which are formed when fighting an infection, like COVID-19. An antibody test assesses whether a donor’s immune system has responded to the infection, not if the virus is currently present. The COVID-19 antibody test is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms.

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, including COVID-19.

Individuals who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should not present to donate until they are symptom free for 28 days and feeling well and healthy.

The results of the blood donor antibody test will be available by logging in to the “Blood Donor” account on the American Red Cross’ “Blood Donor App,” or online about seven to 10 days after a blood donation is made. To learn more about blood donation or to find an upcoming blood drive, visit redcrossblood.org.

Donations can be made by appointment only. Visit redcrossblood.org for available appointment times.

Blood donation remains a safe process, and people should not hesitate to give and receive blood even during this time of continued social distancing. In addition to their standard procedures, donors will be asked to undergo a temperature screening. If a donor has a temperature greater than 99.5°F they will be asked to leave the drive and come back to donate when they are healthy. All staff members helping administer the blood drive will also go through a temperature check before starting work. Hand sanitizer will be available at check-in, health history and refreshment areas. Distance will be provided between donors while waiting and giving blood.

Published: August 31, 2020