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New York Blood Center to offer free antibody testing at Queens donor centers

Queens residents donate blood at the Mets semi-annual Fan Blood Drive on Jan. 14, 2021. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

The New York Blood Center (NYBC) is giving blood donors the chance to get free COVID-19 antibody testing at any of its donor centers and mobile sites in Queens, as well as other sites across the city, throughout the month of February.

NYBC is encouraging individuals to get tested for antibodies through their blood donation. Donors who test positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms might be able to donate convalescent plasma, which can be used to treat patients with the virus.

“This important initiative serves as a thank-you to New Yorkers who are generous enough to donate and to encourage more people to come into our centers,” said Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive director at NYBC. “We will communicate with donors who may become eligible to donate convalescent plasma to help those suffering from COVID-19. While the vaccine rollout has begun, there are still many who are fighting this illness.”

The goal of the convalescent plasma treatment is to use the donor’s antibodies to help clear the virus more rapidly and help decrease the need for ICU beds and ventilators. Each donation can be used to treat two to three patients struggling with severe cases of COVID-19.

NYBC was the first to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma in March, and maintains the nation’s largest public bank. They have sent close to 100,000 units across the country.

NYBC will mail results of the antibody test to donors within two weeks, but they caution there may be some delays.

Following the winter storm from earlier in the week, NYBC is calling on individuals to donate blood in order to help with “dangerously low supply.” Due to the blizzard, 1,500 fewer blood donations were made, all community blood drives were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, and donor centers had to be closed early.

Below is a list of NYBC sites in Queens neighborhoods, including Glendale, Astoria, Elmhurst, Jamaica and Bayside, for the next two weeks:

Thursday, Feb. 4:

  • The Shops at Atlas Park at the former Pet Shop (located at TK in Glendale), from 1 to 7 p.m.
  • Queens Place Mall (88-01 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst), from 1 to 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 5:

  • The Shops at Atlas Park at the former Pet Shop, from 1 to 7 p.m.
  • Rivercrest (33-15 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria), from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 7:

  • St. Mary Gate Of Heaven Roman Catholic School (104-06 101st Ave. in Ozone Park), from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 9:

  • Bay Terrace Shopping Center (212-51/55 26th Ave. in Bayside), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 11:

  • Resorts World (110-00 Rockaway Blvd. in Jamaica), from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Bay Terrace Shopping Center (212-51/55 26th Ave. in Bayside), from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Shops at Atlas Park at the former Pet Shop, from 1 to 7 p.m.
  • Rivercrest (33-15 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria), from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Queens Center Mall (90-15 Queens Blvd.), from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Adria Hotel (221-17 Northern Boulevard in Bayside), from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 12:

  • The Shops at Atlas Park at the former Pet Shop, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 13:

  • Colony Theater Center (500 Bayside in Breezy Point), from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • The Shops at Atlas Park at the former Pet Shop, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 14:

  • St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church (150-75 Goethals Ave. in Jamaica), from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donating blood is safe and may take one hour. They are taking extra precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and staff are practicing health self-assessments before starting work.

Individuals are not eligible to donate is they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection of flu-like symptoms. For more information on donor eligibility, you may visit NYBC’s site.

Donations are by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling 800-933-2566 or visit www.nybc.org.

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