Ochsner hosting blood donation drive with free COVID-19 antibody testing

Ochsner hosting blood donation drive with free COVID-19 antibody testing
Ochsner is offering a free COVID-19 antibody to anyone who successfully donates blood Thursday. (Source: Gage Cureton)

Information provided by Ochsner Medical Hospital

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - On Thursday, June 18, the Ochsner Bloodmobile will park and accept donations at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge (17000 Medical Center Drive, off I-12, exit 7, O’Neal Lane). All successful blood and platelet donors will receive a free COVID-19 antibody test.

This special incentive is available at participating Ochsner Blood Bank sites around Greater New Orleans, Northshore, Baton Rouge, and Bayou regions through July 5. Ochsner blood banks, like blood banks across the nation, are currently experiencing a critical blood shortage. All blood types are needed, especially platelets and Type O red cells.

Antibody Testing and How it Works

• A COVID-19 antibody test can determine if a person's immune system has created antibodies in response to COVID-19. Presence of the antibody indicates the individual has been infected with COVID-19 in the past but is not guaranteed immunity or protection from future infection.

• Because this virus is new and there are still many unknowns, there is not enough information at this time to determine what defines COVID-19 immunity and how long immunity may last.

• During your blood donation, a small amount of the blood collected will be separately tested for COVID-19 antibodies. All participating donors will be notified via mail of the results. Note: To be eligible for the free COVID-19 antibody test, it must be a successful blood or platelet donation.

• While antibody testing is a step in the right direction, people should continue to follow CDC guidelines, including social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and good hand hygiene practices. Individuals with a negative antibody test should be aware that they have not been infected by the virus or developed antibodies to COVID-19. If an individual were to test positive for antibodies, the same social practices should remain in place prior to testing as we continue to learn more about this virus.

Before You Donate:

• We encourage you to eat a healthy meal and drink water prior to donating.

• Individuals taking medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol CAN donate! All blood types are needed.

• Picture ID required.

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