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Donors to Receive Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing at Greenville Community Blood Drive

Vidant Health to support its blood provider

GREENVILLE, N.C. (JULY 9, 2020) To boost community collection efforts during this unprecedented time of social distancing and safety concerns, Vidant Health and The Blood Connection (TBC) are partnering to host a large community blood drive at the Greenville Convention Center. The blood drive is set for Thursday, July 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. inside the convention center at 303 SW Greenville Boulevard. Those who complete a blood donation will receive free COVID-19 antibody testing and a $10 VISA card. This drive comes at a time of great need for blood donations, especially convalescent plasma donations. As COVID- 19 cases continue to rise, there is a critical need for this plasma to help COVID-19 patients.

“Vidant appreciates The Blood Connection’s work to help collect and provide blood to thousands, including those we serve,” said Brian Floyd, president, Vidant Medical Center. “Donating blood can help save lives and so can COVID-19 antibody testing. Antibody testing helps us strengthen our understanding of this virus and its prevalence in our community. I would encourage those interested in donating to consider visiting the Greenville Convention Center on July 16 to help make a difference.”

All donors who complete a blood donation at this community drive will receive COVID-19 antibody testing. The test, which will provide blood donors with a positive or negative result in seven business days, will be included in the normal panel of testing that is done for all complete blood donations. Donors do not need to opt in to this testing. TBC wants to ensure that all donors are aware that this is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19 infection. The FDA and the CDC have both said that a positive antibody test result does not prove the individual has immunity to the virus and that research of the antibodies is still being conducted.

As mentioned, The Blood Connection has an urgent need for convalescent plasma, a blood product that can help those battling COVID-19. Research has shown that there are antibodies in the plasma of those who have recovered from COVID-19 that can be transfused to COVID-19 patients to aid in their recovery. Donors have the opportunity to donate this plasma at the Greenville community blood drive. Anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 and has been symptom free for at least 14 days can donate convalescent plasma. Donors must bring proof of a

positive COVID-19 test or positive COVID-19 antibody test to the blood drive in order to donate. Please call 864-751-1168 to make an appointment to donate plasma.

Blood donations, including convalescent plasma, have a positive community impact because Vidant Health receives its blood products from TBC. Those products help hundreds of local patients per year. The Greenville Convention Center was chosen because it allows for the recommended social distancing space between donors. TBC ensures that all donors are healthy through wellness screenings prior to their donation and the organization is taking extra precautionary measures to ensure donation sites are clean places to donate blood.

These special precautions will be taken during this drive to limit exposure and encourage social distancing:

  • Donor flow will be set up to limit interaction between donors.

  • All TBC staff will be wearing masks. Face coverings are required for donors.

  • Donor chairs will be spaced as far apart as possible.

  • Donors are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to control social distancing.

    Make an appointment by visiting this link or by calling 864-751-1155.

    Signage will direct donors to the drive entrance and free parking will be available. Appointments are strongly recommended in order to control social distancing and limit interaction. Donors can find their antibody test results in their online donor portal (not on the TBC app) seven business days after donation. Donors can make an appointment at thebloodconnection.org. To contact TBC, please call 864-751-1155.

    TBC emphasizes these facts about donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19. Individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.

  • America’s Blood Centers and the FDA have both stated that a blood drive is not considered a mass gathering or an event, as donating blood is an “essential civic duty.”

  • TBC follows appropriate infection control standards of donor rooms and mobiles, which include sanitation of donation chairs. TBC has increased decontamination of surfaces in centers and on blood mobiles.

  • The Blood Connection staff will complete a full health screening for all donors prior to donating blood. This includes a questionnaire (which includes travel questions), temperature check, and mini-physical.

  • Blood centers are not healthcare providers and thus do not provide COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

About Vidant Health

Vidant Health is a mission-driven, 1,512-bed health system that annually serves more than 1.4 million people in 29 eastern North Carolina counties. The not-for-profit system is made up of more than 13,000 employees, nine hospitals, home health, hospice, wellness centers, and Vidant Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician and provider group with more than 500 providers in more than 90 locations in eastern North Carolina. Vidant is affiliated with The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. As a major resource for health services and education, Vidant has a mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. For more information, visit www.vidanthealth.com.