AUSTIN, Texas - We Are Blood is asking for the community's support in replenishing convalescent plasma, whole blood, and platelets following a recent spike of COVID-19 in Central Texas.
Recently, Austin entered stage four of Austin Public Health's COVID-19 response after an increase in the seven-day average in hospital admissions.
“Our concern was that our primary indicator for staging, the new hospital admissions was heading toward 20. That happened last night. The new admissions last week was 144 during that week period which was a 58 percent increase as compared to the previous week,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority.
We Are Blood is the sole provider and protector of blood to more than 40 hospitals and medical facilities in Central Texas. The organization says the demand for blood has increased following re-opening measures and relaxed social distancing. The recent spike has also heightened the need for whole blood and platelets, which are essential for traumatic injures, chronic diseases, and cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy.
“As Central Texas braces for a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, We Are Blood must be ready to meet the growing need for convalescent plasma donations to treat new patients at local hospitals,” said Nick Canedo, vice president of communications at We Are Blood, “Since launching our convalescent plasma program in early April, community members have helped us send donations to over 230 COVID-19 patients. We need more individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate now and help the growing number of hospital admitted patients in our area.”
So far, We Are Blood has received 389 qualification inquiries, seen 150 qualified donors, and sent donations out to over 230 COVID-19 patients.
In order to qualify as a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor, individuals must have a prior lab-tested diagnosis of COVID-19, been without symptoms for at least 14 days, and meet all other blood donation criteria. A positive result from an FDA approved antibody test may be accepted in lieu of a prior lab-tested diagnosis.
"Any individuals without symptoms for between 14-28 days must have a negative test result from a second COVID-19 diagnostic test. After 28 days without symptoms, a second diagnostic test is unnecessary," We Are Blood stated.
Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 can submit a form be qualified for the convalescent plasma program and scheduled for a special appointment.
Whole blood and platelet donations can be made by individuals who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 or experienced symptoms. Appointments can be made through We Are Blood's website.