The American Red Cross announced Monday it will begin testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time.

According to the Red Cross, antibody testing will indicate if the donor's immune system has produced antibodies for COVID-19, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing lab where they will undergo a routine infectious-disease testing.

The results of the antibody test will be available within seven to 10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor app or donor portal at redcrossblood.org. A positive test does not confirm infection or immunity, the Red Cross said in a news release.

“As an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is pleased to provide more information about COVID-19 to our valued donors,” Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in the release. “If you are feeling healthy and well, please schedule an appointment to not only help saves lives, but also learn about your potential exposure to COVID-19.”

There has been a shortage of blood donations in the past few months. Multiple factors have caused the shortage, such as the recent resumption of elective surgeries and infrequent blood drives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upcoming blood drives

The following drives include COVID-19 antibody testing:

  • June 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at American Red Cross—Northland Chapter, 2524 Maple Grove Road, Duluth.
  • June 22, noon-6 p.m. at Barnes Community Church, 3200 County Road N., Barnes.
  • June 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Journey Christian Church, 1400 Washington Ave., Cloquet.
  • June 23, noon-6 p.m. at United Presbyterian Congregational Church, 214 Vaughn Ave., Ashland.
  • June 24, noon-6 p.m. at AmericInn, 3009 Lakeshore Drive E., Ashland.
  • June 26, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Legendary Waters Resort & Casino Event Center, 37600 Campground Road, Bayfield.

Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org, calling 800-733-2767 or enabling the "Blood Donor Skill" on any Alexa Echo device. All those who give June 1-30 will receive a $5 Amazon gift card via email.