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BOISE — Following record-breaking cold and winter storms that forced the cancellation of more than 10,000 blood and platelet donations in parts of the U.S. in February, the American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals, especially those with type O blood, to give now to ensure blood products are available for patient emergencies when help can’t wait.

Every day thousands of patients rely on lifesaving blood donations, the American Red Cross said in a news release. The need for blood is constant, even during snowstorms and the COVID-19 pandemic. To help ensure lifesaving patient care isn’t impacted, individuals in areas unaffected by severe weather are urged to make appointments to donate by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Amber Peterson of Chubbuck, Idaho, knows firsthand how important it is to have blood on hospital shelves. During a family camping trip last summer, her young son Jack Moser was run over by a passing trailer and seriously injured. Jack was airlifted to the medical center in Idaho Falls and eventually on to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. During that journey alone, he received 11 units of blood and many units since — blood available because of the generosity of blood donors.

“Had we not had that blood there’s no way Jack would be here,” Peterson said. “I have a 6-year-old little boy who’s sitting here and happy and talking to his brother because of that. It might just seem like a unit of blood, but to someone who really needs it, it’s your life.”

Important COVID-19 information for donors

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for high levels of COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities now- March 15

Boise

2/23: 8 a.m. — 2 p.m., The Salvation Army, 9492 W. Emerald St.

2/24: 9 a.m. — 1 p.m., Five Mile Church of the Nazarene, 2701 S. Five Mile Road

2/25: 2 p.m. — 7 p.m., Our Lady of the Rosary, 1500 E. Wright St.

2/26: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., Boise Towne Square Mall, 350 N. Milwaukee

3/1: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., One Capital Center, 999 Main St., One Capital Center

3/2: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., One Capital Center, 999 Main St., One Capital Center

3/4: 11 a.m. — 4 p.m., Boise State University Student Union Building, 1910 W. University Drive

3/5: 7:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Five Mile Church of the Nazarene, 2701 S. Five Mile Road

3/8: 9:30 a.m. — 3 p.m., St. Luke’s Health System, 190 E. Bannock

3/8: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., Holiday Inn Express, 3050 S. Shoshone St.

3/12: 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., Inn at 500 Capitol, 500 S. Capitol Blvd.

3/12: 10 a.m. — 3 p.m., Red Lion Downtowner, 1800 W. Fairview Ave.

3/12: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., One Capital Center, 999 Main St., One Capital Center

Eagle

3/9, 3/10: 8:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m., Eagle High School, 574 N. Park Lane

3/12: 11 a.m. — 6 p.m., LDS Star Stake, 1133 North Park Lane

Kuna

2/27: 12:30 p.m. — 5:30 p.m., Kuna Seventh-day Adventist Church, 820 Linder Road

Meridian

3/3 and 3/6: 9 a.m. — 3 p.m., The Village at Meridian, 3693 E. Longwing Lane #110

3/10: 9 a.m. — 3 p.m., Victory Middle School, 920 W. Kodiak Drive

3/11: 8:30 a.m. — 2 p.m., Capital Educators Federal Credit Union, 275 S. Stratford Drive

3/11: Noon — 6 p.m., Meridian Idaho Victory Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2555 S. Stoddard Road

Caldwell

3/12: 8 a.m. — 1 p.m., Our Lady of the Valley, 1122 W. Linden

Nampa

3/1: 10 a.m. — 3 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 8 S. Midland Blvd.

3/2: 11 a.m. — 5 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 2717 12th Avenue Road

3/3: 12:30 p.m. — 5:30 p.m., Real Life Community Church, 120 14th Avenue S.

3/4: Noon — 5:30 p.m., Nampa First Church of the Nazarene, 601 16th Avenue S.

Mountain Home

2/26: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., American Legion Post 101, 715 S. 3rd W.

3/8: 10:30 a.m. — 4 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1150 N. 8th E.

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