Ochsner Baton Rouge to offer free COVID-19 antibody testing to blood and platelet donors


FILE – In this Thursday, March 26, 2020 file photo, vials of blood for testing and a donated bag of blood will be sent for testing and use at an American Red Cross blood drive at the Carbondale YMCA in Carbondale, Pa. On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the U.S. government eased restrictions on blood donations from gay men and other key groups because of a drop in the nation’s blood supply triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (BrProud) – Ochsner Baton Rouge will offer all successful blood and platelet donors a free COVID-19 antibody test at the Ochsner Medical Center Baton Rouge located at 17000 Medical Center Dr. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ochsner blood banks are currently experiencing a critical blood shortage, according to Ochsner Baton Rouge. All blood types are needed, especially platelets and Type O red cells. The anti-body test promotion is currently available at participating Ochsner Blood Bank sites around Louisiana.

Ochsner Health gives the following information to those who wish to donate:

  • 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.

More information from Oschner Health on COVID-19 Antibody Testing:

  • 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 the 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.

A list of Ochsner blood banks and blood drives can be found here.

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