Mark your calendar now for the Feb. 8 American Red Cross blood drive to be held in Fairfield from 1-6 p.m. at the Faith Bible Church Youth Center.

The American Red Cross typically has a tough time keeping the blood supply strong during the winter months when inclement weather and seasonal illnesses can impact donors. This year the pandemic adds in another challenge in keeping the blood supply strong. The Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets this month.

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give this February will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. Additional information and details about the gift cards are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)

Make your appointment to give blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-733-2767 or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

Donors are asked to schedule an appointment before arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.