The familiar sight of OneBlood’s bright red buses will grace the Palm Beach Outlets for appointment-only blood drives every Saturday through August 1. The buses will be parked in the PetSmart parking lot from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Every blood donation will be tested for the coronavirus antibody and donors will be informed of test results, free of charge. To maintain recommended capacity and distancing protocols, all donors are required to make an appointment online or by calling 1-888-9DONATE.
“Palm Beach Outlets is pleased to host these four blood collection days in partnership with OneBlood,” said Trina Holmsted, marketing director of Palm Beach Outlets. “The ability for the donor to learn his or her coronavirus antibody status is of additional value,” she adds.
OneBlood is testing all donations for the COVID-19 antibody. The antibody test is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms. Donors will be able to see their results approximately 48 hours after donating by logging into their donor portal.
“The testing brings many benefits. In addition to donors learning if they have the antibody, OneBlood will be identifying additional people who can be COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors,” said Susan Forbes, OneBlood’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications and Public Relations.
Convalescent plasma donors can help critically ill COVID-19 patients, as their plasma is rich with novel coronavirus antibodies. The plasma can be transfused into a sick patient to help boost their immune system and potentially help them recover. Without a cure or vaccine available, doctors are turning to convalescent plasma to help.
OneBlood’s COVID-19 antibody testing will also provide important statistical information to public health officials. “OneBlood is working closely with Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to provide de-identified data on the number of people testing positive and the geographical location. This information will help in decision making for reopening the economy,” said Forbes.
OneBlood is one of the first blood centers to begin testing for the coronavirus antibody and plans to provide the antibody testing for the foreseeable future. COVID-19 antibody testing will be performed in addition to the standard infectious disease testing all blood donations receive. Testing takes place at OneBlood’s laboratory, Creative Testing Solutions (CTS).