The American Red Cross will continue to hold monthly blood drives this year in Chester, and they will VFW and American Legion Halls.
Julie Gustafson, account manager of donor recruitment for American Red Cross Blood Services in St. Louis, said the agency will hold six drives at each location.
The first drive of the year will be on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at the VFW, 939 State St., in Chester. All VFW drives will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 19, Thursday, March 18, Tuesday, May 11, Thursday, July 8, Thursday, Sept. 2 and Friday, Nov. 19.
The first drive at the American Legion, 500 Opdyke St., in Chester, will be on Wednesday, Feb. 17. All six drives at the Legion will be held 12:45 to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays: Feb. 17; April 14; June 16; Aug. 18; Oct. 20 and Dec. 15.
All blood donations since the COVID-19 Pandemic began last March have been tested for Coronavirus antibodies. The tests are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Red Cross notifies those donors of the results.
The antibody tests indicate if the donor's immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus regardless if they have developed any symptoms, telling donors whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. However, a positive antibody test does not confirm that a donor does have either infection or immunity.
Masks are required upon entering donation centers and social distancing is maintained to protect both donors and Red Cross staff. The Red Cross also asks that donors do not attempt to donate if they are not feeling well the day of the donation.
"Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood," Gustafson said. "One donation can help to save as many as three lives. As the Red Cross publicity posters say, 'We're ALL in this TOGETHER!'"