Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and continues to carry out our lifesaving mission in our communities.
To ensure we are prepared to support health agencies in our communities and across the country, MBC strongly urges individuals who feel healthy and well to make an appointment to give blood, platelets, and plasma. As a safety precaution, and to manage donor flow, donation appointments are now required.
MBC is committed to the safety of our donors, volunteers, employees and blood recipients, and to transparency with the public during this evolving public health emergency.
There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion. In fact, there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmission for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus.
It is safe to donate blood, and we encourage healthy individuals to donate so that blood is available for those patients who need. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 per CDC recommendations. We are also performing temperature checks on all staff members and donors upon arrival.
MBC only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility guidelines.
To protect our staff and donors, MBC is asking donors to self-screen before coming in to donate. Please do not present to donate if you have:
- a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing)
- had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after your illness has resolved
If you are unsure whether to donate, or if you have donated recently and you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you test positive for COVID-19, please contact us at 888-448-3253.
Please be aware that we do NOT test for COVID-19. You should contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.
If you are feeling healthy and well and meet general eligibility guidelines, please schedule your donation now to help ensure a stable blood supply amid coronavirus concerns.
Tools for blood donors during the stay-at-home order
Based on information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), we have prepared a letter indicating that your role as a blood donor makes travel to your donation appointment essential to our emergency preparedness. You can access this letter here, and show it should you be asked.
Plus, when you complete your iDonate health history questionnaire in advance, your receipt will also indicate you are an Emergency Blood Donor.
Valid as of April 7, 2020.
Coronavirus Blood Donor FAQ
- What is MBC doing in response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
We are actively monitoring the situation along with our local partners and will follow the most up to date guidance from the CDC and State Department of Health as the situation evolves. We take the health of our donors and staff very seriously and always follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of infection.
Many precautions and social distancing measures are being taken at donation sites, including frequent cleaning in between donor appointments, restricted access, and temperature checks.
- What additional measures are being taken at donor centers?
In order to ensure a safe, controlled donation environment, we are limiting access to donor centers to just essential staff and volunteer blood donors. We ask blood donors and staff to stay home if they are not feeling well, and are performing temperature checks of all staff and donors upon arrival. Our staff are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading germs, including regularly cleaning public surfaces. Additionally, we are practicing social distancing by spacing appointments out and requiring appointments, spacing out donor beds, and encouraging donors to wait in their cars prior to their appointments instead of in waiting areas. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are also available at all locations.
- How does MBC determine if people are eligible to donate blood?
We ask if you are feeling healthy and well on the day of donation. Our health questionnaire and laboratory screening are designed to identify donors who may be at risk for transfusion transmitted infections. We are also checking the temperature of every donor and staff member upon arrival. In addition, our standard mini-physical prior to each donation includes taking the donor’s temperature to prevent donations from individuals showing symptoms of an illness.
- Can I catch COVID-19 by donating blood?
No. Donating blood is safe. We always use new, sterile needles that are discarded after use.
- Can I donate blood if I've traveled recently?
We currently ask each donor about recent travel to regions where there is a higher risk for transfusion transmitted infections such as malaria and CJD. FDA has not established this same kind of requirement for the coronavirus since it is not known to be transmitted by blood. However, individuals who are told by public health officials to self-quarantine due to travel-related coronavirus exposure should not donate blood while they are in quarantine status. This is for the protection of our staff and other blood donors.
- Do you test blood before it goes to recipients?
All donated blood, even donations from repeat donors, is tested for blood type, hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other transfusion transmissible diseases.
- Can I donate blood to find out if I have COVID-19?
No. You should not donate blood to find out if you have COVID-19. Blood centers are not testing for COVID-19.
- Can you catch COVID-19 from a blood transfusion?
There is no evidence that coronaviruses are transmissible by blood transfusion. Furthermore, pre-donation screening procedures are designed to prevent donations from people with symptoms of respiratory illnesses.
- Why is it important to donate now?
It’s important for eligible blood and platelet donors to give today so that we can build up a strong blood supply. Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because it’s perishable and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf now is the blood that will save lives if there’s an emergency.
- Will we run out of blood?
It is important for healthy donors to donate now to build up our reserves now so that we have enough blood available to withstand any temporary shortages and help those in need.
- What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
Standard practices for cold and flu season are the best way to keep you and our community healthy. This includes staying home when you’re sick, frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your upper sleeve when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or face after touching public surfaces. Visit the CDC website for reminders of proper hand hygiene.
- Are face masks being worn by donors and donor center staff?
Based on new recommendations from the CDC, MBC collections staff is wearing masks. As the situation evolves, we will continue to follow the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC and State Department of Health.
Donating blood continues to be an important part of community preparedness. We appreciate the support of those who are healthy and well making regular blood and platelet donations.