Stanford Blood Center addresses concerns about the novel coronavirus and ongoing cases within Santa Clara County
March 5, 2020
Attention News Desk: Media Release (for immediate release)
Ross Coyle | 650-725-3804
No increased risk of getting COVID-19 by donating blood; Need for blood remains constant
STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford Blood Center (SBC) wants to respond to donors and potential new donors who have expressed concerns over the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Bay Area.The safety and health of our donors is a top priority, and our medical directors want to reassure donors and the general public that there is no increased risk to getting the coronavirus from donating blood products at this time.
“Our medical directors are staying on top of global health updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as any updates within the community. We are prepared to take action as needed to ensure that the process of donating blood remains safe,” says Dr. Suchi Pandey, Chief Medical Officer at Stanford Blood Center. “The risk of a local outbreak remains low, and there is no increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 from donating blood, especially since blood donors must be in good health and not have a fever on the day of donation.”
While incidence of COVID-19 continues to fluctuate throughout the world, the need for blood for our local patients is constant. “This time of year is critical for us as the cold and flu season have caused blood donations to drop, while patient usage has increased at our partner hospitals over the last three months,” says SBC spokesperson Ross Coyle. “Given the widespread media attention to the illness, we understand that some donors may be feeling worried; but, we also want to remind the community that it’s the blood we have readily available that allows us to save a life at a moment’s notice. We’re asking all donors — both current and potential first-timers — to make and keep appointments, to ensure that a sufficient blood supply will continue to be available for all local patients who need it.”
Currently, the AABB, CDC, and FDA are not requiring specific actions by blood centers. “Respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus. However, we are taking a precautionary approach to blood safety for this new emerging virus,” says Dr. Pandey. On February 14, SBC voluntarily implemented a 28-day travel deferral for COVID-19, which applies to any travel within mainland China.
Donors who have traveled outside the United States in the past 28 days are encouraged to call us at 888-723-7831 to ensure they are eligible to give blood, as areas of outbreak are changing fairly rapidly. Dr. Pandey adds, “At this time, individuals who are healthy and well should not feel worried about donating blood due to fears or concerns of possibly contracting COVID-19.”
While Santa Clara County issued a recommendation that persons at higher risk should avoid mass gatherings, we want to clarify that SBC blood drives do not fall under this category. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment at one of three donation center locations in Campbell, Menlo Park, or Mountain View. There are also a number of mobiles open to the public this month, including drives in Cupertino, Fremont, Santa Clara, and San Jose. Appointments can be scheduled online at stanfordbloodcenter.org or by calling 888-723-7831 for same-day appointments.
As always, donors should be in good health with no cold or flu symptoms. Any donors exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be deferred per our usual policy of only accepting healthy donors. For information on eligibility or the latest travel deferral, please call us at 888-723-7831.
About Stanford Blood Center
Stanford Blood Center (SBC) is an independent, community blood center that supplies blood products and testing services to multiple Bay Area hospitals and is a recognized leader in the fields of transfusion and transplantation medicine. SBC was created at the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1978 to meet the complex transfusion and transplant needs of Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, as well as provide clinical trial services and specialized blood products for researchers. Today, the center remains locally focused, serving community hospitals, patients and donors, while contributing to research and advancement that impact the world at large. More information is available at stanfordbloodcenter.org.