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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19

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UPDATED 11-2-20
BLOOD DONATION DEFERRAL INFORMATION IN RELATION TO COVID-19

  • San Diego Blood Bank is currently deferring people who have traveled to areas outside of the United States or traveled on cruise ships, including river cruises and worldwide areas with CDC Level 3 travel notices for 28 days (4 weeks) from their date of departure from the outbreak area traveled or from cruise ship disembarkation from the outbreak area. Travel to Baja, Mexico, is acceptable.

  • If donors (including healthcare workers) cared for, lived with or otherwise have had close contact with an individual(s) diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 infection, they are deferred for 28 days (4 weeks) from the last date of exposure with the individual(s). 

  • Donors who have been diagnosed with or are suspected having COVID-19 are deferred for 4 weeks from the date the symptoms resolved. 

  • People experiencing coronavirus symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, should not attempt to donate. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Do I need an appointment? 
Yes, in order to ensure proper staffing at our locations, appointments are currently required until further notice.

Do I have to wear a mask or face covering when I donate blood? 
Yes. All staff and donors must wear face coverings in accordance with the County’s current face covering requirement. 

I have recovered from COVID-19. Can I donate convalescent plasma? 
San Diego Blood Bank will be collecting convalescent plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. 
Learn more.  

What safety measures are in place?
Donor and staff safety is of the utmost importance. We currently have several measures in place.  

Current procedures:   

  • Requiring face coverings for all staff and donors.
  • Reducing the volume of people gathering at any one time.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting donor screening tools, such as clipboards and pens.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting educational material sheet protectors.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting hand grippers.
  • Screening donors for upper respiratory symptoms (such as, but not limited to: coughing, shortness of breath) and taking temperatures prior to entering donor center or mobile.
  • Screening staff for upper respiratory symptoms (such as, but not limited to: coughing, shortness of breath) and taking temperatures of staff who interact with donors at the beginning of each shift
  • Posting the County of San Diego Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol.
  • Posting notices and screening donors if in the past 28 days: they have traveled outside of the United States, including cruise/river cruise. Travel to Baja, Mexico, is acceptable; have been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19; or cared for, lived with or otherwise had close contact with an individual(s) diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.
  • Following good hygiene practices, including wearing gloves and use of hand sanitizer before and after each donation.
  • Protecting supplies in the canteen area by limiting donor access to the supply of snacks and drinks.

If I donate blood, will I be able to fight an infection later?
There is no research evidence that donating blood affects your ability to fight infection later. While white blood cells needed to fight infection slightly decrease after donation, abundant cells remain in the event of an infection. Furthermore, donated cells are regenerated post-donation.   

Are recipients at risk of contracting COVID-19 through donated blood?
There is no known risk of contracting COVID-19 from blood transfusions. Respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion transmission of this virus. Routine blood donor screening measures that are already in place should prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. For example, blood donors must be in good health and have a normal temperature on the day of donation  

Can I get COVID-19 by donating blood? 
There is no inherent risk of getting COVID-19/coronavirus from donating blood. No measures can completely eliminate the risk of exposure; however, we have high standards in place to eliminate risk of exposure as much as possible. 

Can I donate if I’m over 65? 
We are not disallowing donors who are 65 and older that feel healthy and well from donating. Because no measures can completely eliminate the risk of exposure, following the.”stay-at-home” order is highly recommended. Younger donors are stepping up to donate. Donors who are 65 and older and people with underlying conditions can feel good about staying home.

Are you allowing for social distancing? 
Our donor centers have 6-foot distancing at all stations. Staff, of course, will be near you at a few points during the normal donation process. Mobiles do not currently afford 6’ distancing. However, we are screening donors and staff prior to entry onto the bus. We are also cleaning all surfaces between donations.  

What happens if someone donates without any symptoms and then becomes sick?  
COVID-19 is not known to be transmissible by transfusion. SDBB regularly tracks cold and flu symptoms after donation. If you are diagnosed with or are suspected of having COVID-19 infection within the next 28 days, please contact SDBB at (800) 469-7322

How else can I help?
Please consider volunteering to help ensure a healthy, safe and clean environment for our donors. Visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org/volunteers. You can also make a financial gift to support emergency preparedness such as freezer technology and critical supplies. Visit sandiegobloodbank.org/makeagift

Visit our blog, www.sandiegobloodbank.org/covid19.