Blood Donations are Safe and Vital to Respond to COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, Miller-Keystone Blood Center officials have
issued facts about the virus and guidelines for blood donors.

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While walk-in donors are traditionally welcome and accepted as time permits,
we have temporarily adopted an Appointment-Only policy at this time in response
to current social distancing guidelines.

In addition, if you are unable to keep your appointment time or will be more than 10 minutes late,
please contact us as soon as possible to reschedule as we may not be able to accommodate donors
arriving more than 10 minutes late for their appointment.  This policy is to ensure that we
continue to comply with current social distancing guidelines.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

TO SCHEDULE YOUR LIFESAVING BLOOD DONATION CLICK HERE
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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.  Approximately 450 blood donations are needed every day to meet the transfusion needs of our regional hospitals, and it is critical that individuals in the community donate blood in order to meet these needs. 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,  the FDA announced the emergency authorization of Convalescent Plasma to treat COVID19 patients on August 23, 2020. Find more info on Convalescent Plasma at:   https://www.giveapint.org/covid-plasma/

MKBC is operating on an appointment-only basis at this time.  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. In addition, if you are unable to keep your appointment time or will be more than 10 minutes late, please contact us as soon as possible to reschedule as donors arriving more than 10 minutes late for their appointment will be cancelled. This policy is to ensure that we continue to comply with current social distancing guidelines.  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.

For additional information on MKBC’s Safety Measures, click here.

Please help to save lives by giving blood through this difficult time.

If you have a specific question related to Blood Donation & COVID-19, email us here!


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.


– COVID-19 convalescent plasma has not been approved or licensed by the FDA; 
– COVID-19 convalescent plasma has been authorized by the FDA under an EUA; 
– COVID-19 convalescent plasma is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic under section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.