Area blood banks offer free COVID antibody test

HEALTHLINE: Many blood donation centers now offering free COVID-19 antibody testing for donors

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Three area blood banks are offering a free COVID-19 antibody test with any successful blood donation. The test can indicate whether someone was exposed to the novel coronavirus.

LifeShare Blood Center on Essen Lane will provide the free test through Sunday, June 14th. A spokesman said LifeShare has depleted 80 percent of its blood supply in May as hospitals work through a backlog of elective surgeries.

“We’ve seen a decline in the number of people giving blood, and we're really hoping that offering this testing will motivate people to come and donate blood," said Benjamin Prijatel, LifeShare Sr. Director of Blood Operations.

There are no extra steps required of blood donors. If COVID-19 antibodies are detected, that donor could be eligible to donate COVID Convalescent Plasma (CCP) in the future. CCP is being used to treat the most critically ill COVID-19 patients.

An appointment is not required at LifeShare. Donors can visit the donation center at 5745 Essen Lane, call 225-383-7728, or visit lifeshare.org.

Vitalent and The Blood Center also began offering free COVID antibody testing this week. Those organizations did not specify a cut-off date for the testing.

Appointments are strongly recommended at Vitalent. Visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).

The Vitalant donation center is located at 8234 One Calais (service road at I-10/Essen) in Baton Rouge.

The Blood Center's location in Denham Springs is temporarily closed, but donors can schedule an appointment at centers in Hammond, Thibodaux, Slidell, Mandeville, Metairie, and Harvey.

Visit thebloodcenter.org to make an appointment or call 1-800-86-BLOOD (25663).

The antibody test is not intended for those who are currently experiencing coronavirus symptoms or who believe they may currently be infected. Blood donors should be individuals who are in good health. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their physician and not attempt to donate blood.

LifeShare and Vitalent said donors will get results from the antibody test in about two weeks. The Blood Center said results from its test are available in 48 hours.

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