STORIES BY KRISTEN BRAINARD

Coronavirus Pandemic Causing an Increase in Need for Blood Donors

Published: Oct. 8, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is creating an increased need for blood transfusions in hospitals. This increased demand for blood has caused OneBlood, a blood donation company, to increase their safety protocols to safely collect blood for COVID-19 patients. 

Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has been hospitalizing people internationally. While there is still no known cure for the virus, hospital patients are in need of blood transfusions now more than ever, OneBlood’s Pat Michaels says. 

Michaels says that this is an unprecedented time for blood centers, because the world has never experienced anything quite like it. The demand for blood donors has never been this high.

In addition to blood transfusions being a critical part in helping COVID-19 patients, a routine blood donation can also detect the COVID-19 antibodies.

A routine blood donation. Photo by Kristen Brainard.

Detecting COVID-19 antibodies in blood means that the donor has carried the virus at some point, and the antibodies lie in their system. These antibodies can be given to hospital patients fighting coronavirus to strengthen their systems.

The antibodies are also used for research purposes to help doctors and scientists try to learn more about COVID-19.

OneBlood is taking every safety precaution possible to keep donors safe while also supplying hospitals with the needed whole blood and convalescent plasma. 

A list of safety precautions each donor must read before entering. Photo by Kristen Brainard.

Every donor is asked for their background concerning travel and any possible exposure, before they even step into the donor center or on the red bus. They are required to wear a mask for the duration of their appointment, as are all techs. Donors get their temperatures taken, and may be instructed to wait in their cars to ensure social distancing. Also, every chair and all equipment is thoroughly sanitized, Michaels says. 

While the Covid-19 pandemic is resulting in an increase of hospitalizations, OneBlood is taking every step to supply the hospitals with needed blood and convalescent plasma. They are taking every safety precaution possible to keep their donors safe while helping during the pandemic. 

While this has been a trying time for everyone, Michaels and the entire OneBlood staff is certain they will overcome the obstacles while keeping their donors safe and healthy.