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
- Temperature checks before presenting donors enter the blood drive or donation center
- 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.
- Staff wearing basic face masks
- For the safety of our donor community and in accordance with CDC guidelines, all donors are required to wear a face covering or mask. Please bring a face covering or mask to your donation. If you do not have one, a mask will be provided to you. In alignment with the CDC, the Red Cross does not permit valve face masks at our blood drives or donation centers for employees, volunteers or donors. Face shields can be worn in addition to face masks but not as a substitute.
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.