Recognizing that donors may have questions and concerns in light of the state of emergency declared in Washington state following the deaths of patients infected with the COVID-19 (2019-novel coronavirus), Bloodworks Northwest reassures the community that it’s safe to donate blood, and donations are continuously needed.
“We’re actively monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and maintaining communication with local health departments,” said Bloodworks President and CEO Curt Bailey “Our primary focus is providing a safe and reliable blood supply to our hospital partners across the Northwest, and that’s only possible by making opportunities to donate blood available at our donor centers, area businesses, churches, and schools, and seeing our community continue to turn out for local patients.”
It takes 1,000 people showing up to donate at a donor center or blood drive every day to keep our community’s blood supply at stable levels. Blood donations not only help those who have suffered trauma, they also help those with cancer and blood disorders, surgery patients, premature babies, and others who cannot live without the support of volunteer blood donors.
Bloodworks officials are concerned that as fears of coronavirus heighten, low donor participation will harm the blood supply. “We can’t allow what’s happening to blood inventories in other countries affected by COVID-19, where they’re seeing sharp declines in donation, to happen here,” said Curt Bailey. “Our community strives to maintain a four-day supply of blood. A sudden drop in the blood supply will have consequences and put surgeries and patients at risk. If you’re healthy and haven’t donated recently – or you’re a first time donor – please make an appointment this week and plan to be a regular donor so the blood supply is always strong.”
“Bloodworks would like to reassure the community that its policies and procedures have been developed to assure compliance with FDA, CDC, and other applicable recommendations related to COVID-19,” said Bloodworks Medical Director of Blood Services Dr. Kirsten Alcorn. “All of our processes have been developed to optimize the safety of the blood supply and donors. Routine blood donor screening methods would be expected to reliably protect the blood supply because we routinely ask about illness and travel.”
“We want our community to know that we are addressing their questions and concerns about blood donation and blood safety using the most up-to-date information available,” said Dr. Alcorn. “We’ll continue to make updates as we learn about the outbreak.”
There have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus; and respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion. (Source: FDA)
Blood donation takes about an hour from registration to post-donation refreshment. Information about who can donate and where, is available at bloodworksnw.org.
For the latest information on COVID-19 please visit the CDC website and Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 main page.