Blood donors to receive free COVID-19 antibody test at blood drives

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Blood drive 1

Georgetown High School Senior Jacqueline Garcia celebrates her upcoming graduation by giving a pint of blood—a habit she started two years ago. Blood technician Glinda Reed follows safety protocol with gloves, masks and sanitizer.

Blood donors at upcoming Tidelands health blood drives will get a nice bonus with their donation: a free COVID-19 antibody test.

The American Red Cross is providing the antibody test, which determines whether a person has had COVID-19, as an additional health service to donors. The testing can provide insight into whether donors may have been exposed to the virus.

The free antibody testing will be available to donors at several upcoming blood drives organized by Tidelands Health, in partnership with the American Red Cross:

Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Waccamaw Medical Park South, 4367 Riverwood Drive in Murrells Inlet, across from Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital

Friday, July 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Waccamaw Medical Park South, 4367 Riverwood Drive in Murrells Inlet, across from Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital

Monday, July 13, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness, 12965 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island

Tuesday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Waccamaw Medical Park South, 4367 Riverwood Drive in Murrells Inlet, across from Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital

“These blood drives offer a wonderful opportunity for individuals to help save a life with their donation while receiving important information about their past exposure to COVID-19 thanks to the free antibody test,” Adam Mattox, laboratory director at Tidelands Health, said.

The free antibody test screens for antibodies in your blood, which are formed when fighting an infection such as the coronavirus. The test does not indicate if a person is currently infected with COVID-19. Some individuals who have the virus never develop symptoms, so the antibody test can help determine if an individual has unknowingly had the virus.

Those wishing to know whether they currently have COVID-19 should be tested at a free Tidelands Health testing clinic or schedule an appointment with their health care provider. The antibody test should not be used as a current diagnosis.

Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment to donate blood by going to redcrossblood.org.

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