Submitted by Christine Swinehart, CEO, Cascade Regional Blood Services.
Every day brings new developments related to the COVID-19 virus and we recognize that although the local circumstance continues to change, we want to assure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and continue to follow our rigid health and safety protocols.
It is Safe to Donate Blood
As your community blood center, Cascade Regional Blood Services is dedicated to helping protect the health and safety of our donors, patients, volunteers, staff, and community as a whole. The coronavirus does not pose any risk to blood donors, either during the donation process or from attending organized blood drives. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to monitor the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and have not recommended any additional action be taken by blood centers at this time.
A Safe and Adequate Blood Supply is Needed
It is imperative that healthy individuals continue to donate to minimize disruptions to the blood supply. As the coronavirus outbreak expands, our blood supply is affected by the decrease in the number of eligible donors and collection drives that are cancelled. Maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients receive needed treatments. Our centers are operating on normal business hours, and we encourage you to donate if you are healthy and have not donated in the past 56 days.
Measures are in Place to Ensure the Safety of the Blood Supply
Routine screening measures are already in place that prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. According to FDA, there have been no cases of coronaviruses (including SARS and MERS-CoV) reported or suspected from blood transfusions.
Your health and Safety
Meticulous hand hygiene and environmental hygiene play a key role in isolation precautions. We have increased our routine cleaning and disinfection in our centers and mobile units and added additional hand hygiene supplies for donors. We encourage you to follow basic CDC recommended preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Thoroughly wash your hands often with soap and water
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, when hand washing is not available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth