Red Cross urging blood donations amid COVID-19 and holidays

MADISON, Wis. — As this pandemic wears on, blood and plasma donors are as essential as ever.

The American Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to help ensure a stable blood supply for patients this holiday season. The Red Cross supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, and now more than every they need our help.

The traditional slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s comes as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Giving blood is really a life saving measure. Blood can not be manufactured, they only way we can get it is through one another. It really is a wonderful gift of life, it’s a wonderful thing to give during the holidays,” said Laura McGuire of the Red Cross.

In a show of thanks for making time to donate blood around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood November 25-28 will receive a Red Cross long-sleeved t-shirt.

The Red Cross is also testing blood donations for covid-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed covid-19 symptoms.

“With new state orders and especially with the Dane County order in place, blood is an essential business and people are able to call 1-800-RED-CROSS or to make an appointment to give blood,” said McGuire.

For the safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with covid-19 postpone donation.