Donors pack PNC Arena for free COVID-19 antibody testing

Wake County News

FILE – In this Wednesday, May 20, 2020 file photo, a health worker takes a blood sample for a COVID-19 antibody test in Los Angeles. An antibody test might show if you had COVID-19 in the recent past, which most experts think gives people some protection from the virus. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the parking lot at PNC Arena was packed for a pop-up blood drive that offered free antibody testing.

“I feel like it’s just part of my job as a citizen to come out and get rid of some of the extra blood I have,” said blood donor Joey Powell.

People like Joey Powell say they were drawn in from across the Triangle for more than just a donation.

“I told my wife after they hooked me up that I was going to get the antibody testing done,” said Powell.

According to spokesperson Allie Van Dyke, The Blood Connection has received increased interest in donations since starting free antibody testing May 11.

“It is absolutely a win-win,” said Allie Van Dyke. “You’re saving lives. You’re saving local lives because we provide blood to hospitals here in the Triangle, and you’re also finding something out about yourself.”

It’s unclear what percent of patients has tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies to this point.

“We actually can’t share the positive or negative results for our donors,” said Van Dyke. “We told them upfront that this was for their knowledge only so we are going to keep it that way.”

That’s not stopping donors like Powell from eagerly anticipating their results.

“I don’t think that I’ve come in contact with COVID-19, but who knows,” said Powell. “We’ll see if I have supreme disease-fighting genes and antibodies inside of me.”

“If that means I’ve quote unquote ‘beaten it’ it’s good to know that,” said blood donor Webb Bostick.

If you missed the blood drive at PNC Arena you can still donate at area The Blood Connection locations which are open seven days a week.

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