Blood donations needed for COVID-19 antibody testing, plasma

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
08/28/2020 01:00 PM
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oklahoma Blood Institute account consultant Ashley Hinson, left, helps a donor check in at a mobile blood drive hosted by Grand View School on Aug. 20 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Sarah Johnson, Grand View School teacher, looks on as she and her grandparents, Paul and Roxanne Eriksen, background, donate blood at an Oklahoma Blood Institute mobile blood drive on Aug. 20 at Grand View School in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A man gives blood during an Aug. 20 blood drive at Grand View School in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Grand View School hosted an Oklahoma Blood Institute blood drive on Aug. 20 with the OBI offering to test for COVID-19 antibodies to help people suffering from the virus.

“Who benefits from it? It could be you. It could be me. It could be your neighbor, a loved one, friends,” OBI account consultant Ashley Hinson said. “One out of every three people at one point in their lives will have to use a blood product whether its platelets, plasma or blood. Everybody benefits.”

In May, the OBI started testing donations for COVID-19 antibodies. If a blood donation tested positive, the person who donated the blood would be contacted and given the chance to donate plasma, which goes directly to COVID-19 patients.

“After their test results come back, if they are screen positive, then they have the opportunity to donate convalescent plasma which in return will go directly to help COVID patients that are in the hospital,” Hinson said. “If someone has the antibodies, they can come in and donate the plasma that has the antibodies that will then be transfused and be given to COVID patients. What we’re seeing is it’s helping save their lives.”

Hinson said the need for convalescent plasma has increased by 700%.

“So when we very first started this program, it was a trial run and it has been so successful that the hospitals are requesting more to obviously help save the patients so they can move out and help more patients,” she said.

Cherokee Nation Registrar Frankie Hargis contracted the virus in March, and while in the hospital, received a plasma donation with COVID-19 antibodies.

“At some point, I’m not sure when, but my son received a call explaining that the hospital had been selected as a plasma transfer test site and asked for permission to give me the plasma,” Hargis said. “My son consented and they tell me after receiving the plasma I began to show improvements.”

She said she had a long hospital stay and was on a ventilator for about a month.
“I was placed on a ventilator on March 21st. I am not aware of what happened during the 33 days that I was on the ventilator. My children have given me some detail. I know they received more than one call that I was not doing well and may not make it through the night,” Hargis said.

She is now home and continues to gain strength.

Paul and Roxanne Eriksen, of Park Hill, and their granddaughter, Sarah Johnson, donated blood and had their donations screened for antibodies.

“I would tell everybody that can that they should at least once a year to donate blood,” Roxanne said. “It’s very essential. Now with the pandemic and there’s always people that are injured or having cancer issues. It’s a very important asset.”

Johnson, a Grand View teacher, said she started donating because of her grandparents. “My grandfather has actually donated like gallons of blood before. I’ve always kind of been too nervous to do that. I’m getting braver as I get older I guess. I’m very close with my grandparents, and it’s something we like to do together. This is the second time we’ve done this together.”

To donate blood or for information visit www.obi.org.

To donate plasma, donors must have a prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test; be symptom-free for 14 days prior to donation; and be at least seven days past their last blood or plasma donation.

Those who are eligible to give plasma can register at https://bit.ly/covid19-registry-ok or call 1-888-308-3924.

Click here to watch the video on our YouTube channel.
About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...

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