ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — More non-coronavirus related activity in the hospital has been one of the reasons for an increased demand for blood donations. The Red Cross has started a new program to help draw people in. They are now doing anti-body testing of COVID-19.
“We are testing all blood, plasma, and platelet donations for COVID19 antibodies,” said Holly Miller, account manager for Red Cross in Rochester. “The antibody test we’re using is FDA authorized, it’s orthoclinical diagnostics Vic ross anti SARS-CoV2 total test, that is specific to COVID19.”
This program lasts through the summer months and may continue depending on available funding. There are other ways to receive an anti-body test and one of them is at Acute Kids Urgent Care in Webster. Chrysa Charno is the CEO and clinical director, saying there is still so much to learn from these antibodies. “Does it mean that you are immune to the virus? If you are, how long does that last? We’re still trying to figure that out.” The tests are sent to URMC labs.
She says that her office has tested over 200 patients for the virus and only two have come up positive. While this may seem low, it is on par with the number of those that have tested positive around Monroe County. Regardless, everyone that has come in is willing to help. “We’ve had a large volume of people that come in to see us and say, look, I just want to see if I can help somebody, and if I have the antibodies I want to be able to donate my plasma to help somebody get better,” said Charno.
Doctors say that only about 20 percent of people with the antibodies have ones that can be used to help others with the illness recover faster. This is not a test for the actual virus and results come out every 7-10 days.
Information on where to donate blood and get the antibody test can be found here.