Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties now have had 7,412 cases of COVID-19 confirmed with 5,579 recoveries.
That means there are more than 5,000 people who could make a plasma-specific donation at the American Red Cross so that plasma can be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Convalescent plasma is believed to lessen the symptoms of those patients and possibly lead to a quicker recovery, according to Josh Murray of the Nebraska-Iowa Region of the American Red Cross.
Those who’ve had COVID may donate convalescent plasma every seven days for up to three months.
“If you’ve fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis, your convalescent plasma donation may help up to four coronavirus patients in need,” according to the Red Cross website.
Donna Rios of Kearney is a good example of people who have donated convalescent plasma to help with treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Rios, who has recovered from COVID-19, made her fifth convalescent plasma donation Wednesday at the American Red Cross in Grand Island.
Her mother was in the intensive care unit of a Kearney hospital for 39 days with COVID-19 and she received convalescent plasma in the hospital. So Rios, a regular blood donor, wanted to provide convalescent plasma for other COVID patients and she went ahead and started donating plasma for that purpose.
The Red Cross website indicates there is an urgent need for “this potentially lifesaving blood product.” Hospital distributions of convalescent plasma have increased about 250% since October. More donors are needed as soon as possible to lessen the national shortage.
In order to donate convalescent plasma people must have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, must be fully recovered and must have been free of symptoms for at least 14 days.
Those who would like to donate convalescent plasma should first complete a donor request form at redcross.org.
Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that has several duties, including helping to maintain blood pressure and supplying critical proteins for blood clotting. Aside from COVID-19, it also helps save the lives of trauma patients, burn victims and those receiving blood transfusions.
Finding out you have COVID-19 can be scary. Actually suffering from the symptoms, such as shortness of breath, is even scarier. But this is a specific step people who are grateful for having recovered from COVID-19 can take to help others going through the same situation.
To schedule an appointment at the Grand Island Red Cross, call 308-646-3304 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.