The American Red Cross strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, rise in the U.S.
“We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients. As fears of coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”
Please make an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood donors with type O blood and platelet donors are especially needed right now.
Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. 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, from a transfusion.
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, available at RedCrossBlood.org. At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. 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.
The top priority of the Red Cross is the safety of valued staff, blood donors and blood recipients, and they are committed to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency. As the situation evolves, the Red Cross will continue to evaluate all emerging risks in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and industry partners to determine if additional intervention strategies are needed.
The Red Cross has implemented new blood donation deferrals out of an abundance of caution. Individuals are asked to postpone their donation for 28 days following:
• Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea;
• Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus.