MILWAUKEE -- Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is urging community members on Monday, March 9 to schedule and keep their blood donation appointments at donor centers and organized blood drives to ensure the continued adequacy of the blood supply.
Versiti Chief Medical Officer Tom Abshire, M.D. issued the following statement in a news release:
"The donation process itself poses no risk of infecting a donor with coronavirus. Donors and our blood drive sponsors should be reassured that attending organized blood drives is safe. Coronavirus is currently not known to infect patients through blood transfusions."
The news release goes on to say in some communities, many blood drives have been canceled and some loyal donors are not keeping appointments – both of which will have a negative impact on the blood supply.
It is critically important that healthy individuals continue to donate to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. If the outbreak of coronavirus expands, travel-based restrictions could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors and measures suggested to reduce exposure to other people could disrupt community blood drives and donations at centers.
Public health officials are supporting continuation of blood donation as critical to health care in our communities. Since it is the blood currently on hand that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need to receive optimal treatment.
Those interested in donating blood are encouraged to call 1-877-BE-A-HERO or visit versiti.org/wisconsin.
Versiti is asking donors who have traveled to China, Iran, South Korea or Italy, to self-defer from donation for 28 days from their date of return. These countries are in line with the current CDC travel guidelines – the CDC recommending that people avoid nonessential travel to these countries.