Dr. Merlyn Sayers, president/CEO of Carter BloodCare released a statement this morning detailing concerns of an impending situation with the community blood supply due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) fears.
According to Dr. Sayers, the COVID-19 news has led many companies and schools to cancel their planned blood drives, with little hope of them being rescheduled soon. Employees are also being told to work from home while their kids are out of school.
The recent fear of social gatherings has discouraged persons from coming to donation centers to contribute to the blood supply.
“There is no concern at this time that the blood supply is at risk of transmitting COVID-19,” said Dr. Sayers. “The concern is that we are going to have a serious adequacy problem in the near-future. Since all communities are affected, we will not be able to import units from our neighboring blood centers.”
Dr. Sayers said Carter BloodCare is seeing alarming numbers of canceled drives, as are colleagues around the country.
Carter BloodCare is communicating directly with hospital blood banks about this developing problem. They will be sending emails to hospital administrators today.
Carter BloodCare also noted:
• Blood centers are not healthcare providers and thus do not provide coronavirus tests. Blood centers do screen donors to make sure they are healthy and eligible to donate;
• All donors are screened to ensure they are well. Individuals should not donate blood if they are feeling ill. Each donor also goes through a physical that includes a temperature check as well as a visual check for coughing, running nose, breathing, etc.);
• Donors are asked a series of additional questions that include whether they have traveled outside the country;
• Blood centers follow appropriate infection control standards of donor rooms and mobile buses, which include sanitation of donor waiting rooms and donation chairs;
• There is no known risk of transmission of COVID-19 through the blood donation process or from blood transfusions;
• There is no intrinsic risk to the safety of the blood supply, but there is risk to the availability of blood for patients in need because of an increase in cancelled donation appointments and blood drives;
• Blood donation is not a mass gathering or social event. Individuals who are healthy and eligible to donate are strongly encouraged to do so to maintain an available blood supply.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a letter here.
They emphasize that healthy individuals must continue to donate blood.