Blood center offers free COVID-19 antibody testing for blood donors

Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 17:29:06-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coastal Bend Blood Center is in dire need of blood donations from the community.

“Our shelves are looking pretty low,” said Nicole Peters director of technical services and IT.

The summer months are usually the slowest for the Coastal Bend Blood Center as fewer people come in to donate blood. This year, donations have been especially low as many potential donors try to stay home as much as possible to avoid contracting coronavirus.

To help curtail the low donation numbers, the blood center is now offering free COVID-19 anti-body testing.

“We’re testing all donors one time for the SARS CoV-2 antibody which is just an antibody to the virus that the human immune system will develop when it's been exposed to the virus,” said Peters.

If you test positive, Peters says it could mean that at one point you were exposed to the novel virus.

“Maybe you were never symptomatic, maybe you did get sick,“ said Peters. Either way, the test will tell you.

Peters says the blood you donate helps patients in cancer centers, those undergoing surgery, and trauma patients in emergency situations.

“Blood on the shelf is the one that saves the lives so it's not what was donated the same day as an emergency its the one that was already donated,” said Peters.

The blood center is now accepting walk-ins but Peters says they still prefer you to make an appointment first.

The Coastal Bend Blood Center wants people to take advantage of the free antibody test, however, you shouldn’t use the antibody test as a way to find out if you’re currently infected with COVID-19.