The top priority of the Red Cross is the safety of our donors, volunteers, employees and blood recipients, and we are committed to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus.
Donating blood products is essential to community health and eligible donors are strongly urged to donate now. The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements.
At each blood drive or donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols, including:·
- Wearing gloves and changing them often
- Wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation
- Preparing the arm for donation with aseptic scrub
- Conducting donor mini-physicals to ensure donors are healthy and well on day of donation
We have also increased our vigilance concerning some of these safety protocols including:
- Enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment
- Following social distancing practices between donors including donor beds, as well as waiting and refreshment areas
- During this time, blankets typically used by platelet, Power Red and AB Elite donors at Red Cross blood donation centers will be laundered after each use, which may limit the availability. Donors are encouraged to bring their own blankets, but electric blankets and heating pads are not permitted.
- For the safety of our donor community, the Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with CDC and OSHA guidance. Fully vaccinated individuals including staff and blood donors will no longer need to wear masks or socially distance beginning May 21. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance. Valve face masks are not permitted. Face shields can be worn in addition to face masks but not as a substitute. The Red Cross will adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance or at the request of our blood drive sponsors.
To ensure our staff are healthy each day, we have implemented standard staff health assessments prior to all blood drives.
Finally, only eligible and healthy people are allowed to give blood.
These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.
Book your next donation appointment for the days and weeks ahead to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need.