Frequently Asked Questions: Donating during COVID-19 Outbreak

We want to reassure donors that it’s safe to donate blood during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection outbreak. In fact, maintaining a supply of blood products for research use is a crucial component of the overall public health response. Here are some helpful answers to questions you may have.

Should I donate at donor centers during this time?

Yes, WE NEED YOU! Donor centers are essential businesses that will remain open duringCOVID-19quarantine.According to the guidance issued by the office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our facilities may continue physical operations. We are considered to be life-sustaining as we operate in the “Scientific Research and Development Services” subsector. Most importantly, your donations are vital to the research and development of new therapies, vaccines, and diagnostic tools - including research relating to COVID-19. Blood collection activities are not “mass gatherings” and we’ll do our best to minimize interaction.

What is the donor center doing to promote “social distancing” during the epidemic?

Please come in to donate ONLY if you’re feeling well and healthy and have not been exposed to individuals with the COVID-19 infection. We have instituted operational changes to ensure social distancing in terms of all donors and personnel, including increasing the space between chairs in our waiting room and donor beds. Additionally, entrance of non-essential personnel has been limited.

What is cleaned in the donor center?

We are a highly regulated industry and have strict cleaning processes that have been further enhanced during the current outbreak. Staff will clean each screening room between donors and ensure consistent cleaning of all surfaces and donor beds in the center at regular intervals. We continue to urge both donors and staff to cover cough and sneezes, wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and avoid bringing hands to the face.

If I don’t know that I have the virus, could my blood be dangerous to staff?

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is transmitted through the blood so there’s little known risk of spreading the disease through the blood donation process. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/ for more information.

Should I donate if I have a mild cold or flu-like symptoms?

You should NOT donate blood if you are feeling ill, have a fever, are at high risk of COVID-19 infection (i.e., living with someone who has been infected) or have been suspected of or diagnosed with having the virus. Following IRB protocol, donor temperature screening will occur immediately upon consent and if your temperature is above normal, you will be deferred from donating and referred to your doctor.

Should I inform the donor center if I become infected with COVID-19 after my donation?

Yes, this is very important! Individuals who donated blood and then, at some time later, become ill with a diagnosis of Coronavirus infection, are asked to advise the center where they donated as soon as possible. Plans can be made for you to visit to donate after your recovery.

In accordance with FDA guidelines, if you have been infected with COVID-19, please refrain from donating blood at least 28 days after resolution of symptoms after a diagnosis of COVID-19 or 28 days after the last possible close contact exposure to a person with COVID-19.

Contact us immediately and we are happy to speak to you about future donation options to help TARGET A CURE!

Please note that BSC-Allentown has suspended Saturday hours until further notice.