JONESBORO — The “Be the Hero” blood drive to benefit the American Red Cross is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 13-14 at St. Bernards Auditorium, 505 E. Washington. Potential donors are asked to make an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

January is National Blood Donor Month. The American Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to give blood to ensure a strong blood supply for patients as the U.S. braces for flu season while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Red Cross critically needs donors of all blood types, especially type O, to give now and help ensure patients continue to receive the treatments they need this winter. Everyone who attempts to donate will receive a “Be the Hero” Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Every two seconds in the U.S. blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies. The Red Cross must collect nearly 13,000 blood and more than 2,600 platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide, including 15 hospitals in Arkansas.

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 they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors.

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. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within seven to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

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 safety and infection control standards and additional precautions including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff.

To donate blood or for more information, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcross blood.org, call 1-800-733-2767, or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.