In response to COVID-19, Miller-Keystone Blood Center officials have
issued facts about the virus and guidelines for blood donors.
While walk-in donors are traditionally welcome and accepted as time permits,
in the current “social distancing” environment we have implemented an appointment-only policy
at this time. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
MKBC DOES NOT TEST for Coronavirus or COVID-19 Antibodies. Unfortunately, there is some misleading information being circulated online that by donating blood, you can be tested for Coronavirus. Blood Centers cannot test for COVID-19 – contact your local healthcare provider to administer the appropriate test. While testing for the coronavirus antibodies is now becoming available throughout the region, Miller-Keystone Blood Center is not conducting the testing on-site. Testing for Covid-19 and/or the antibodies must be done by one’s healthcare provider, or by a laboratory that the healthcare provider recommends.
There is an URGENT NEED FOR BLOOD DONATIONS at this time. Now that our regional hospitals have resumed elective surgeries, the need for red cells, platelets and plasma by our regional hospitals has once again increased. It is critical that individuals in the community donate blood in order to meet the transfusion needs of our regional hospitals. There are patients who desperately need blood routinely for their recovery for cancer, as well as trauma victims, premature infants, surgical patients and more. Due to “stay at home” restrictions and “social distancing” recommendations, very few bloodmobile drives will be held in the foreseeable future. The need for blood never ends, but the supply certainly can if it’s not available. Blood is perishable and there is NO substitute – the only source is the volunteer blood donor.
Convalescent Plasma Donation was recently launched. When a person becomes ill with COVID 19, it can take time to develop the antibodies needed to combat the disease. While some patients become seriously ill and may require the use of a ventilator, 80% of those diagnosed do not become seriously ill. These patients recover and have the antibodies in their plasma. By collecting this plasma and giving it to ill patients, the hope is to provide a boost to the patient’s antibodies and help stimulate recovery. This is particularly important in patients who have a suppressed immune system. While Convalescent Plasma treatment is experimental, doctors hope it will be lifesaving for many seriously ill patients. Find more info on Convalescent Plasma at: https://www.giveapint.org/covid-plasma/
We are encouraging donors to schedule a donation in the next 1-2-3 weeks, as donations will still be critically needed over the next few weeks/months to provide for the transfusion needs of our regional hospitals. While walk-in donors are traditionally welcome and accepted as time permits, in the current “social distancing” environment we have implemented an appointment-only policy at this time. Donors are encouraged to complete their medical screening online prior to arriving for their scheduled donation, and donors are asked to bring and wear a mask during their donation. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time!
Going to a blood center or blood drive is safe. All Blood Center equipment is decontaminated between uses, and everything that touches blood is sterile and disposable (including blood bags, needles and test tubes). All signature pads, tables and tablets are sanitized/disinfected between use, Blood Center staff are wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to regulatory requirements (including gloves and face shields). Although we wish the opposite were true, our collection sites are rarely crowded and not considered “mass gatherings.” We have implemented the necessary “social distancing” recommendations, and we encourage all donors to complete their medical screening online prior to arriving for their appointment. Additionally, we expect only healthy people to come and give blood. The risk of exposure at a donor center is exceedingly low.
Please help to save lives by giving blood through this difficult time.
A Message from Ashley Russo, ASR Media Productions
BACKGROUND: In December 2019, a novel Corona virus was identified in Hubei Province, China. This is a respiratory virus is related to those causing the “common cold”. It is believed to evolve from an animal specific corona virus (bat), the genetic change making it possible for this virus to infect people.
Symptoms of the infection are not specific and may be found in persons with a variety of infections including influenza, and many other viral illnesses. The symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is important to understand that a person with these symptoms does not confirm infection with COVID-19. Only a medical evaluation can decide what the cause is. Like other Corona viruses, COVID-19 is believed transmitted by large saliva droplets rather than aerosols so it is important to observe proper cough and sneeze hygiene. Frequent hand washing and keeping hands away from the face can help prevent transmission of all respiratory viruses.
Most Corona viruses are not transmitted through transfusion. This was the experience with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus (SARS CoV) and Mideast Respiratory Syndrome (MERS CoV). However because COVID-19 is a new virus, the blood center is taking the following precautionary steps to prevent others from becoming infected:
- Donors who do not feel well should reschedule their appointment.
- Donors who have traveled to areas of major outbreaks such as mainland China, Korea, Italy, and Iran should postpone blood donation for 28 days from departure.
- Donors who have been exposed to a person having a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection should postpone donation for 28 days. Examples of exposure include but are not limited to person-to-person contact, quarantine, or on an infected cruise.
- Donors who have recovered from COVID-19 should postpone their donation for 28 days from the end of symptoms.
Donors meeting the above criteria should call 1-800-223-6667 to reschedule their appointment.
U.S. Surgeon General Urges Blood Donations Amid Coronavirus Outbreak – MBC San Diego
In The Midst of a Global Pandemic, Blood Donations Are Greatly Needed – PBS Channel 39
Blood banks seek donations: ‘Severe shortage’ due to coronavirus outbreak – WFMZ Channel 69
Blood bank needs donors after coronavirus-driven cancellations – The Morning Call
Blood bank seeking donors; supply level down to 2 days – The Reading Eagle
Blood donors, who are feeling well, are needed amid drives canceled, donations dropping – The Express Times
Blood Supply ‘At Risk of Collapse’ as Coronavirus Outbreak Halts Donations – NBC Philadelphia
Urgent Need for Blood Donations; COVID-19 Blamed for Diminishing Blood Reserves – WBRE/WYOU
AABB Statement on Blood donation and Corona Virus: https://www.aabb.org/advocacy/regulatorygovernment/Pages/Statement-on-Coronavirus-and-Blood-Donation.aspx
ABC Statement on Corona Virus: https://americasblood.org/news/abc-statement-on-the-coronavirus-covid19/
Pennsylvania Department of Health: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
New Jersey Department of Health: https://www.nj.gov/health/