Blood donations with antibodies could help COVID-19 patients

Kylie Jacobs, Managing Editor

Student Preston Pagel donates blood at the Community Engagement Center Feb. 10.
(Karley Garcia)

The Red Cross van pulled up to the UW-W Community Engagement Center Feb. 10 to receive blood donations from area residents, students and campus employees. After donating blood, it is then tested for Coronavirus antibodies. Plasma from the samples that test positive for these antibodies could possibly help current patients in need, especially those who have COVID-19.

With Coronavirus restrictions, only 46 donation time slots could be reserved for the blood drive, 44 of which were booked, making for a successful day. After being screened by the Red Cross, patients donated 34 units of blood.

“I’d call it a very successful drive,” said UW-W payroll and benefits specialist Andrea Campbell. “We had almost a 100 percent booking.” 

Cambell, benefits specialist Stephanie Hartmann and benefit assistant Aubrey Maciosek helped to organize the event, which was sponsored by the UW-W Human Resources and Diversity Benefits Office. This is their third, going on fourth year working together on the Wellness Team. They focus on helping to bridge the gap between the community and campus, as well as putting together events for the wellness of employees at UW-Whitewater.

The UW-W Optimist Club also contributed student volunteers Grace Jezuit, Ryan Shervey, Jack Jarecki and Delaney Weissenborn to help the event run smoothly. This was their first time the groups worked together to sponsor a blood drive.

Students donate blood with the help of Red Cross staff at the Community Engagement Center Feb.10. (Karley Garcia)

“It was a bit harder working from home,” said Hartmann. “Things take a bit longer, and it’s difficult to collaborate, as not everyone is available at the same time.”

For a successful drive, the groups had to submit their plan to the Exceptions Committee with proof that they would follow Center for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines. They ensured there would be a space large enough for social distancing in the Community Engagement Center and had volunteers taking each person’s temperature at the front of the building before they would enter to get screened for the blood donation.

“We were excited to use the space and show it off since it hasn’t really been used for a lot of events” said Campbell.

For area residents the Community Engagement Center also became home to a new Coronavirus testing site. Previously stationed at the Kachel Fieldhouse, this new site is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The free, fast antigen tests are available to anyone five years of age or older. Those who are looking to register for a COVID-19 test at the Community Engagement center should visit should register at doineedacovid19test.com or call 1-800-635-8611. 

The Red Cross van parks outside the Whitewater Community Engagement Center welcoming donations Feb. 10. (Karley Garcia)
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