CLEVELAND — The American Red Cross is now testing all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies.
“If you were sick, did I have it? Did I not have it? By donating blood, get the antibody results, you would know for sure and you might be able to convalescent plasma,” said Christy Peters with the American Red Cross.
Ron Baumberger recovered from COVID-19 and has donated his plasma.
“I found out my plasma was used for somebody in Beckley, West Virginia. It’s a way we can help people recover,” explained Baumberger.
His wife was ill in January, long before doctors knew COVID-19 was in Northeast Ohio. She donated blood and discovered she too has the antibodies and plans to donate convalescent plasma.
As of last month in Ohio, there have been 692 convalescent plasma donors. The American Red Cross has collected 1,579 units. Doctors are using the convalescent plasma to treat those fighting COVID-19 and have had some success.
Michelle Woloszynek is a nurse on the front line of this pandemic.
“I work at the Cleveland Clinic; I took care of COVID patients,” she explained. Woloszynek got COVID in June, donated blood a month later and discovered she has the antibodies. On Monday, she donated plasma for the first time.
“I give blood, plasma, platelets to my patients in the hospital. I know how important it is and I wanted to help others especially those who have COVID to help them recover,” said Woloszynek.
The American Red Cross now has an app that allows donors to track their blood and convalescent plasma donations.
“After you donate blood, if you have the blood donor app, you will be notified of where you can watch the process of blood being tested, stored, sent out and find out where it was sent. They’re of course also letting convalescent plasma donors, when we can, know where donations ended up,” said Peters.
If you had COVID-19, you must be symptom-free before donating convalescent plasma.
If you would like to help, contact the American Red Cross here.
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