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The American Red Cross began testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies in the Merced area Monday.

The antibody test is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed symptoms.

For the next few months, Red Cross blood, platelet and plasma donations will be tested using samples obtained at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory. The samples then will also undergo routine screening and infectious disease testing.

Merced Mobile Testing Sites

A Red Cross spokesperson tells GV Wire that the test is not being done in Fresno, at least for now.

Currently, only Red Cross mobile testing sites in the Merced area get antibody testing.

For all blood drives in the north Valley, the Red Cross suggests that people visit redcrossblood.org to find the closest drive and schedule an appointment.

With the start of antibody testing, the Red Cross anticipates increased interest in blood donation appointments. It’s strongly suggested you have an appointment before showing up at the site.

All donors must wear a face covering or mask while at the drive.

In addition to mobile sites in Merced, the Red Cross location in Turlock (655 E. Hawkeye Ave.) has antibody testing.

Getting Results

Donors can expect to receive antibody test results seven to 10 days through either the Red Cross Blood Donor app or the donor portal on the Red Cross website.

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness. To protect the health and safety of staff and donors, the Red Cross asks anyone not feeling well to re-schedule their appointment.

“As a humanitarian organization and member of the broader health community, the Red Cross has adapted our services to help meet the needs of this extraordinary time,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services in a statement.

“We recognize that individuals and public health organizations desire more information about COVID-19, and as an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is fortunate to be able to help during this pandemic.”

No Guarantee of Immunity

The Red Cross says a positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.

 

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