MIT Medical answers your COVID-19 questions. Got a question about COVID-19? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to provide an answer.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, blood donation is important for our whole community. I know that we can donate at MGH, but I am also hesitant because of the possible exposure to the virus. Can you please provide advice about, in particular, what special precautions other than the usual ones we should take if we decide to donate?
First of all, thank you for bringing up this important issue. Over the last few weeks, we have heard about the incredible importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, but as some previously scheduled blood drives are being canceled and more people are staying home, the country is now facing the real possibility of a massive blood shortage. If you are healthy with no symptoms of upper-respiratory illness and no underlying medical conditions, and you haven’t traveled recently, then donating blood, platelets, or AB Elite plasma is one of the safest and most effective ways you can help our medical community right now.
According to the Red Cross, employees at every blood drive or donation center follow strict safety protocols that include changing gloves often, wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection, preparing the donor’s arm with an aseptic scrub, using sterile collection sets, and conducting mini-physicals to ensure that each donor is healthy and well. They are also practicing enhanced disinfecting of equipment, providing hand sanitizer for use throughout the donation process, and spacing beds to follow social distancing practices between donors.
You can make an appointment online at one of these local donation centers: