Stanford Blood Center addresses shelter in place, calls for community to rally around hospital patients
March 18, 2020
Attention News Desk: Media Release (for immediate release)
Ross Coyle | 650-725-3804
Blood centers remain open as hospital patients continue to require life-saving donations.
STANFORD, Calif. — In light of the recent “shelter in place” issued for six Bay Area counties, Stanford Blood Center (SBC) wants to let the public know that we are still open, and that there is a need now more than ever for community members to come donate. Our health and safety procedures are very thorough, and there is no increased risk to getting novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from donating blood.
As a health care organization, Stanford Blood Center — and, by derivation, our donors — are exempted from the shelter in place. However, with most offices and schools in the area now vacated, we have seen a sharp decline in our scheduled blood drives, which typically make up for 50% of our regular collections. As a result, we now have a critical need for donations to make up those lost units.
“While it may seem as if the world has stopped — and indeed, in certain sectors, it has — we as a community cannot forget about hospital patients in critical need. Even with a shelter in place in effect, individuals in our community — potentially even individuals we know personally — will continue to be in car accidents, need emergency organ transplants, give birth to babies in critical condition, and need chemotherapy. In short, there will still be lives that need saving,” said Harpreet Sandhu, SBC Executive Director. “While the risk to most of us of leaving our house is mild sickness, the risk to patients if we stop showing up is potentially the difference between life and death.”
We know that many people are concerned about leaving their houses. While we are pressing on with donations, we are doing so thoughtfully and carefully to prioritize the safety of our community. “Please note that COVID-19 does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. All instruments used during the donation process are sterilized, and most are single-use only,” said Dr. Suchi Pandey, SBC’s Chief Medical Officer.
“In addition to our regular policy of checking donors’ temperatures and not allowing donations from anyone who reports any symptoms of illness, we also do not allow anyone with a risk factor for COVID-19 exposure, such as travel to a high-risk region, to donate. Additionally, we have implemented social distancing at our collection sites to the extent possible, and have increased the frequency of our cleaning procedures,” said Dr. Pandey. As a reminder, donors and blood center staff must be healthy, so the risk of coming into contact with a sick person at a blood drive or center is extremely low.
To meet the ongoing need of local patients, new and returning donors are encouraged to make an appointment at one of three donation center locations in Campbell, Menlo Park or Mountain View, or to find a mobile drive in their community. Appointments can be scheduled online at stanfordbloodcenter.org or by calling 888-723-7831 for same-day appointments.
As a token of our appreciation to those donors who do venture outside of their homes, we are offering a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card for each person who comes in to donate at a center location or select mobile drives, March 18 – 31. More information can be found at stanfordbloodcenter.org/promotions.
As always, donors should be in good health with no cold or flu symptoms. For more information on our safety protocols and coronavirus as it relates to blood donation, donors can visit stanfordbloodcenter.org/faq-on-novel-coronavirus-and-blood-donation/. For further 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.