The Ottertail community came together through hosting a blood drive with Vitalant, a nonprofit organization that collects blood. This drive was held at the community center in Ottertail on April 29 where they collected a total of 21 units of blood products for patients in need.

A total of 24 people volunteered to donate blood, and 18 were able to do so. Three donors came forward to donate power red cells. Eight of the donors were volunteering for the first time.

Vitalant expressed their gratitude to Linda Albrecht-Norby for coordinating the drive, the Ottertail Lions Club for sponsoring it and all those who assisted: Darrell and Joyce Sanderson, Laurie Jornhave and Kathy Grobecl.

Blood is only useable for 42 days, so a constant supply is always needed.

Vitalant is currently testing all successful blood, platelet and plasma donations for the foreseeable future for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins within plasma that help fight off infections. If your donation is antibody positive, Vitalant can produce convalescent plasma from it to help COVID patients. Remaining blood components will help other patients with serious medical conditions.

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Because antibodies are part of the body's immune response and not the virus itself, antibody testing cannot be used to diagnose current coronavirus infection.

Please postpone your donation if you are feeling unwell or suspect you may have COVID-19. Individuals must be symptom-free for at least 14 days to be eligible to give blood. Learn more about finding ways to help patients during the pandemic by visiting vitalant.org/COVIDRescueTeam.

Donors can make an appointment to give blood at bloodhero.com or by calling 877-25-VITAL. With each donation, donors receive a free total cholesterol test.

Blood donation takes about an hour from check-in to refreshments. Donors can save about 20 minutes by completing their health history questionnaire the day they donate on www.vitalant.org/health.