Officials at Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati are appealing to the tristate community for blood donations in order to maintain a stable blood supply amid concerns about the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“There is currently a critical shortage of blood products throughout the country,” says Alecia Lipton, spokesperson for Hoxworth Blood Center. “Hoxworth Blood Center has been contacted by blood banks in regions affected by the coronavirus outbreak for assistance in providing much needed blood products. We are appealing to the tristate community to donate blood to help patients not just in Cincinnati, but in other areas of the U.S. as well.”
Lipton notes that the states of Washington, California, Florida, New York, Maryland and Oregon have declared states of emergency due to COVID-19, and blood donations in these states have fallen drastically as a result.
Blood donors are being asked to make and keep scheduled blood donation appointments, as blood and platelets will still be needed by patients. According to Lipton, Hoxworth needs to collect at least 400 units of blood and 40 units of platelets every day just to meet the local demand by area hospitals.
Lipton says that Hoxworth Blood Center will implement additional safety measures beginning on Tuesday, March 10 out of an abundance of caution and to ensure that Hoxworth staff are not a source of transmission.
Blood center employees that are within one meter of contact with donors and visitors will be provided with face masks and gloves to wear. At donor centers and blood drives, gloves will be changed between donors during phlebotomy and screening.
Blood center officials continue to reassure the Cincinnati community that blood donation is a safe, sterile process and there is no risk of contracting the virus by donating blood.
“The coronavirus outbreak poses no additional risk to blood donors for the mere fact of being blood donors, either during the donation process or from attending organized blood drives,” says David Oh, MD, medical director of Hoxworth. “COVID-19 also poses no additional risk to patients receiving blood transfusions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not changed their recommendation that no additional action by blood centers is warranted at this time, and we remain in regular contact with both agencies regarding changes to donation eligibility and screening criteria.”
To be eligible for blood donation, donors must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent), feeling generally well and healthy, and have no active cold or flu symptoms. To schedule a donation, call (513) 451-0910 or visit www.hoxworth.org.