LifeSouth

LifeSouth has announced that it is testing donors for COVID antibodies.

BROOKSVILLE — LifeSouth is seeking blood donors to deal with the current blood shortage, and the nonprofit announced Aug. 18 that it will test donors for COVID-19 antibodies.

This will help LifeSouth identify donors who might be able to donate convalescent plasma to help people who are fighting the virus, the organization said in a press release. Local hospitals need the plasma as the virus surges, and those who have recovered from COVID-19 can help save lives by donating convalescent plasma.

“Local hospitals and patients need the community’s support every day — and especially now, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Donating blood and convalescent plasma is one of the fastest and most impactful ways to help our neighbors in this public health emergency,” said Dr. Chris Lough, vice president of medical services for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

The FDA has authorized the antibody test, which detects of someone has developed antibodies to COVID-19, the release said. A positive test result may indicate a past exposure and some immunity to the virus. However, the test is not a diagnostic test and will not determine if a donor currently has the virus or was exposed to the Delta variant.

Healthy blood donors who may have been exposed to or recovered from COVID-19 are asked to donate as soon as they have completed the recommended CDC quarantine guidelines, the release said. There is no deferral period for donors who have received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

Donors must be fully recovered from COVID-19 and symptom-free for two weeks before coming to LifeSouth’s donor centers or blood drives to donate.

In addition to convalescent plasma donors, all blood types are needed. 

In Brooksville, the donor center is at 12395 Cortez Blvd. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

To donate blood or convalescent plasma, visit www.lifesouth.org or call 888-795-2707 to schedule an appointment.