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Red Cross reaches “critical” need for convalescent plasma

The Red Cross said their hospitals have seen an over 250% increase for the need of convalescent plasma
Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 4:08 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As coronavirus cases continue to climb, The American Red Cross is in “critical” need for more convalescent plasma.

Convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies that can help patients currently battling the virus.

“We have heard from our hospitals that the need for convalescent plasma has been super great,” said Laura McGuire, external communications manager for the Red Cross. “We’re asking anyone who is healthy and who has recovered from the coronavirus to possibly think about coming in and giving blood.”

McGuire said the need for convalescent plasma is up due to the increase of cases of coronavirus throughout Wisconsin.

“We do have a very critical need for convalescent plasma,” she said. “Our hospitals have seen an over 250% increase for the need for convalescent plasma compared to September.”

If you are unsure of whether or not you’ve had coronavirus and are able to donate convalescent plasma, McGuire said the Red Cross is testing all blood products for COVID-19 antibodies.

“You can help somebody immediately in the hospital who might be severely suffering from COVID,” McGuire said.

Typically the Red Cross sees a decrease in blood donations around the holidays. However, she said the need for blood does not stop.

McGuire also said the pandemic has also caused an unexpected challenge for blood donations.

“As you know, many businesses, schools, places of worship have been closed, and we hold about 80% of our blood drives in those types of businesses,” she said. “So with them being closed, we’ve really had to think outside the box and find locations that maybe are non-traditional to hold blood drives at.”

Because of the pandemic, there are new safety measures in place at donation centers, such as performing temperature checks on donors, limiting the number of people in facilities, implementing social distancing, and wearing masks. McGuire also said they are currently taking appointments in order to maintain those safety protocols.

If you are interested in donating blood or convalescent plasma, you can visit their website to learn more.

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