In The Times of COVID-19, Donating Blood is More Essential Than Ever
Blood donation is an essential health service, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blood and blood components have a shelf live. We can’t just keep a lot of it and save it for later – we need to have a regular, fresh supply for patients, who need it.
We need blood and blood products every day to support cancer patients, sick patients, new moms and babies, people with immune deficiencies or blood diseases, people who need surgery or have suffered trauma. COVID-19 does not pose any special risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.
Blood donation is a safe process, we have implemented additional safety precautions during this time. Please keep in mind that, since blood donors must be healthy and without fever on the day of donation, the risk of exposure to a sick person is extremely low at a blood drive.
Blood Bank is a strictly regulated space. There’s a set of guidelines that sets out requirements for staff, premises, collection procedures, quality control and testing, among other things. During the pandemic, our hospital has introduced various ways in tandem with the guidelines issued by National Blood Transfusion Committee to protect the safety of staff, donors and patients.
What measures are being taken to ensure donor safety during COVID-19?
Blood Bank has implemented new measures to ensure the safety of donors and staff in addition to the measures the hospital has taken for protection of visitors and patients
- As always, all of our equipment during the donation process is sterilized, and most is single-use only
- Masks are mandatory for all those entering the blood bank
- Hand sanitizers are placed in all areas and hand sanitization is requested on entering, followed by the registration process
- Social distancing norms are strictly adhered to, not more than 5 people at one time in the screening area, with adequately spaced out seating
- Restricted entry for only donors and maximum one attendant of the patient for counselling
- Our team members wear face masks, gloves, face shields (appropriate PPE) while interacting with donors during the entire donation process.
- Thermal temperature recording again at blood bank
- History specifically in relation to exposure to / symptoms of COVID is taken. Anyone who has returned from overseas is unable to donate for 28 days after their return, people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will have to wait 28 days before donating. Anyone who has been confirmed as having COVID-19 will not be able to donate until they are cleared by their doctor plus undergo an additional recovery period. People with mild cold-like symptoms will be unable to donate until they are fully recovered.
- We have increased the spacing between donation chairs to approximately six feet apart or more (to the extent possible) so that there is more distance between donors during the donation process
- All donor areas, including the reception/waiting area, canteen, history booths and donation chairs are cleaned frequently, with the latter two being cleaned after each donor
- We strictly enforce the policy that team members must NOT report to work, if they are feeling unwell
- Before leaving the premises, the donor is requested to perform hand hygiene once more
Our hope is that people interested in donating blood consider all of the facts, namely that COVID-19 does not pose any special risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. We would like to encourage all blood donors to continue to uphold their commitment to helping local patients, who continuously depend on life-saving transfusions.
Dr. Harpreet Kaur
Head of Department
Transfusion Medicine (Blood Bank)