September 10, 2020 at 5:06 am

COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus that was first identified in late 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Although respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus, SBC is taking a precautionary approach to blood safety, and we have implemented a 14-day deferral for exposure to someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19. Additionally, if you were diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19, you will need to be 28 days symptom-free in order to donate. Those with a pending diagnostic test for COVID-19 will not be eligible to donate. We encourage anyone who falls into these categories to call our Resource Nurse at 650-725-7336  to discuss their eligibility. If you have recently donated blood and any of the aforementioned scenarios apply, please call our Post-Donation Callback Line at 650-724-9968 immediately so we can evaluate your previous donations.

If you have been asked to quarantine for an activity such as travel outside of county lines, please ensure that you have observed the mandatory quarantine period, as designated by the county where you plan to donate, before you come in to a center or mobile blood drive for the safety of others onsite.

Please note that shelter-in-place and curfew restrictions do not apply for blood donation, as donating blood is an “essential activity” for our community. We still have a need for blood donors to turn out for patients. Remember that COVID-19 does not pose any special risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drivesAll instruments used during the donation process are sterilized, and most are single-use only. Additionally, since blood donors must be healthy and without fever on the day of donation, the risk of exposure to a sick person is extremely low at a blood drive. For more on the measures we are taking to ensure donor safety, read our FAQ on blood donation as it relates to coronavirus.

We would like to stress that local patients’ need for life-saving blood products remains constant. Even with a shelter in place or purple tier designation, 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. It is only through your partnership and commitment to donating that we can continue to provide hope and healing to all those hospital patients who require transfusions as part of their treatment.

Remember that the best way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses is to practice preventative measures such as washing your hands with soap and water often and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands. For more information on how to protect yourself and the community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and other important updates, please visit the CDC website.