In the time it took you to read this sentence someone in the United States will need a blood transfusion.

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States will need a blood transfusion every two seconds. They may be cancer patients, trauma victims, surgery patients or individuals with blood disorders. Those patients rely on the generosity of strangers in donating blood to help them. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the need for blood is even more acute, as many planned blood drives were canceled or postponed.

And the coronavirus has also shown another way in which blood donors are even more necessary. People who have had the virus and have build up antibodies to COVID-19 can help those who are struggling with the illness.

A recent large-scale study showed that COVID-19 patients who received blood plasma rich with antibodies reduced mortality rates by about 50%. This virus has killed more than 150,000 Americans, including 1,600+ Alabamians and 12 Cullman County residents. To have a treatment that could cut the number of deaths in half is very good news, indeed.

Cullman County residents have an opportunity on Monday to help their neighbors. The Cullman Times is hosting a blood drive from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with LifeSouth, and we invite you to come out and donate blood and have your blood tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Because many people can contract the virus and display few to no symptoms, it’s possible they may have the antibodies and won’t know it until tested.

Giving is safe. LifeSouth is taking all precautions to protect donors and their staff.

Donors are asked to use hand sanitizer immediately upon arrival.

Temperatures are taken immediately, too. No donors will be registered without knowing their temperature first.

Once they are pre-screened, they can proceed to register.

All donation beds are spaced in such a way as to provide adequate distancing.

LifeSouth staff are all wearing masks. They encourage donors to wear masks too, at least during registration and in the close quarters during the interview process.

All contact surfaces are completely disinfected immediately after each donor’s departure.

If you think you can’t donate because you have diabetes, low iron, cancer, high blood pressure, are on medications or have a tattoo, those conditions are no longer barriers to donating. During the pre-screening process, LifeSouth will go over health issues with you to ensure you can safely donate.

In this time of uncertainty, when we want to be of service and give to others, it can be difficult to know what to do or to be able to afford providing monetary assistance. But giving blood costs you nothing and could very well save a life.

We hope to see you on Monday, and thank you to all who give.

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