The American Red Cross needs people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a blood supply as diverse as the patients who depend on it.

For a small percentage of the population, finding someone else with the same blood type can be difficult, according to a Red Cross news release. While the vast majority of people have types A, B, O or AB blood, some blood types are unique to certain racial and ethnic groups, so a diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of a diverse patient population. Patients who require frequent blood transfusions as part of their treatment, like those with sickle cell disease or other lifelong blood disorders, often need close blood type matches to prevent complications from their transfusion therapy.

All blood types are needed to ensure that the right blood product is available at the right time for all patients.

Make an appointment to donate by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-733-2767 or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood drives are also essential in helping ensure blood is available for patients this winter. To learn more or sign up to host a blood drive this fall or winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Important COVID-19 information for donors

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The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms, according to the release.

Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus, according to the release.

Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

Blood donation opportunities

Otter Tail

Fergus Falls

  • Sept. 16: 1 - 7 p.m., YMCA, 1164 Friberg Ave.
  • Sept. 17: 1 - 7 p.m., YMCA, 1164 Friberg Ave.
  • Sept. 18: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., YMCA, 1164 Friberg Ave.

Todd

Bertha

  • Sept. 25: noon - 5 p.m., New Life Church of God, 401 Main St. W.

Browerville

  • Sept. 30: noon - 6 p.m., VFW Post 8391, 653 Main St. S.

Eagle Bend

  • Sept. 28: 7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., VFW, 107 Main St. W.