Healthy and eligible people are strongly appealed by the American Red Cross to donate blood platelets in the rising outbreak of COVID-19 to help to maintain the current blood supply and to recover the shortages.
The blood supply itself is getting difficult to maintain in this cold and flu season, but the increasing virus can affect it more.
“We are asking the American people to keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time,” President of the American Red Cross, Chris Hrouda said in the press release “As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients.”
According to the American Red Cross, blood donation is a very safe process and appeals to people to freely come and donate blood whenever possible.
Alana Mauger, communications manager American Red Cross Blood Services mentioned, “It is not as scary as people might think,” and added, “The process is about one hour, and you are only on the donation table for eight to 10 minutes.”
She also added that people willing to donate will be asked a few questions about health history and will have a basic physical test before donation to ensure they are qualified. After the donation, the Red Cross provides juice, water, and other snacks to make sure they return comfortably.
“Transfusions come from donations,” Mauger said. “There is no substitute for blood. It can’t be manufactured. It is important to keep that supply available.”
She said, every facility that the Red Cross serves has around a 5-day supply on hand and when it goes below, it would be really concerning.
There is no proof that COVID-19 or any other such respiratory illness is spreading by blood transfusions, the press release said.
“Right now there is no test for COVID-19,” Mauger added. “Blood donations are as safe as they always are. We are asking donors that if they have similar symptoms within seven days after the blood donation to call for a follow-up.”
She added if such a case is found, that sample would be quarantined and marked not viable for donation until further notice.
“Out of extra caution we will quarantine that blood to make sure that nothing is being transmitted,” she said.