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The American Red Cross is looking for donors of blood and platelets to fill a critical shortage. 

CHARLOTTE - The American Red Cross and the National Football League will team up this month, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals – especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 – to give blood and help tackle the national convalescent plasma shortage. Right now, more donors are needed to help hospital patients.

As COVID-19 cases have risen across the U.S., so has the need for convalescent plasma – leading to a shortage of this potentially lifesaving blood product. Like “special teams” units on the field, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to make a game-changing difference in the lives of COVID-19 patients. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may have antibodies in their plasma that could provide a patient’s immune system the boost it needs to beat the virus.

There are two ways COVID-19 survivors can help – through a convalescent plasma donation or by simply giving whole blood. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.

“Blood and plasma donors who have recovered from COVID-19 may have the power to help critically ill patients currently battling the virus,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, Red Cross medical director of clinical services. “With hospital distributions for convalescent plasma increasing about 250% since October, these generous donations are vital in helping to save lives throughout the winter – a time that is often challenging to collect enough blood products for those in need.”

During this critical time, the Red Cross and NFL will offer all who donate blood or platelets at a Red Cross blood drive this January an automatic entry for a chance to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles (terms and conditions apply).

In addition, those who come to give on or before Jan. 20 also will be automatically entered to win the “Big Game at Home” package for an awesome viewing experience safely at home, with a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card to put toward food and fun (terms and conditions apply).

To learn more about the contests, visit http://rcblood.org/3rWd0cd.

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

The following blood drives will be offered in Burke County during the month of January:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 20: 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Rutherford College town hall, 980 Malcolm Blvd., Rutherford College
  • Saturday, Jan. 23: 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Oak Hill United Methodist Church, 2239 NC 181 N., Morganton
  • Sunday, Jan. 31: 1-5:30 p.m., Crosslink Church, 400 Malcolm Blvd., Rutherford College

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.

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