MEDIC Regional screening all blood donations for coronavirus antibodies in August

Health

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — MEDIC Regional Blood Center will begin screening all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies in August.

The blood donation center said all donors from Aug. 3-31 will have to sign a separate consent form and unsuccessful donors will not be tested.

“We are providing the screening as part of our overall effort to identify more COVID Convalescent Plasma donors,” said Kristy Altman, MEDIC director of communications and donor engagement. “As a hot spot for increased hospitalizations, there is an urgent demand and need for more donations to increase the inventory.

“We will only notify donors with a positive result and we’ll do that via letter. Donors should understand that we cannot counsel them on their results. It is also important for donors to understand that we will not be giving any test results via phone call, email or our donor portal.”

Tests will be performed on blood samples at an offsite testing facility. Only donors with a positive result will receive letter notification.

MEDIC reiterated that the antibody test is not a test to determine if you have the virus and no one who has COVID-19 or suspects they have COVID-19 should visit one of their locations or blood drives.

Donors will undergo a screening process that includes a temperature check, blood pressure check, hemoglobin check and a series of questions to determine eligibility. All potential donors should eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids before donating.

Appointments and masks are required at all donor centers and all community drives. Appointments can be made by calling 865-521-2658 or 865-524-3074 or by going online to www.medicblood.org. Masks will be provided if a donor does not have one.

Anyone refusing to wear a mask will be asked to return when restrictions may be lifted. Anyone choosing not to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies will be asked to return in September when the testing window is closed.

The first community drive will take place at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum in the third floor meeting room from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 3-7.

MEDIC Regional Blood Center provides blood for 25 hospitals in a 22-county region. MEDIC has four locations including downtown Knoxville/Ailor Avenue, Farragut/Kingston Pike, Crossville and Athens.

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