Area blood drives seek help from people recently recovered from COVID-19

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MILWAUKEE, WI (CBS 58) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Milwaukee area, health care professionals are seeking help from those who have recently recovered.

Two blood drives in the Milwaukee area seek to do just that.

Every two seconds, someone needs life-saving blood to survive.

“Normally this time of year we tend to see a dip in donations with people busy with holiday travel, schools are out of session,” says Nikki Chalsma, regional manager of Versiti. “Pandemic or no pandemic, this time of year always presents a challenge to get enough blood donations through the door.”

Versiti hosted a blood drive at the Milwaukee County Zoo on Monday, Dec. 28, and the Red Cross at the Tripoli Center. Both locations also collected convalescent plasma or CCP from eligible prequalified donors.

“We have COVID antibody testing for people who donate,” says Justin Kern, communications officer with the American Red Cross of Wisconsin. “If people have recovered from COVID and have a diagnostically proven positive test of COVID, they can donate their plasma that helps other people suffering from COVID.”

Donations of all blood types are needed, but there is a critical need for O negative donors which is the universal blood type given to patients in emergency situations.

Organizers say even during COVID, donors can rest assured the process is safe and effective.

“You get your temperature checked when you come in, people are spaced out, we have a more rigorous cleaning routine among other things,” says Kern.

“The need is always there,” says Chalsma. “The more people come out, the less likely there is to be a blood shortage, especially in critical times like the holidays.”

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