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Convalescent plasma and blood donations urgently needed as COVID-19 cases rise

Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 8:17 PM CST
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - As COVID-19 cases rise, the need for convalescent plasma becomes critical.

The plasma is provided by people who have already been infected with COVID-19. It contains antibodies from the virus and is used in patients currently fighting a COVID infection.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center says there was a time when local QC hospitals were using the plasma at the same rate as the blood center was collecting it. Over the last six weeks, the need has increased dramatically as COVID-19 cases soar.

“Now we have been behind and unfortunately some hospital orders have had to wait. There was a period where we could get plasma from other blood centers and other places in the country, but now that supply is tight,” says Kirby Winn, Public Relations Manager at the blood center.

At one time the blood center was providing about 140 doses each week, now that is well above 500.

With Thanksgiving coming up, that need grows even more.

“We are projecting to collect about 1,000 units fewer than we would in a normal week. Holidays are always challenging for the blood supply,” says Winn.

Although people are encouraged to stay home during the pandemic, going to donate at a blood center is considered an essential activity. Regular blood donations are needed also as non-COVID-19 medical care continues. The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is keeping donors safe by requiring masks, screening for symptoms, extensively cleaning, and taking other precautions.

Winn adds, “People come out to give blood because they want to help people in their community. They want to make a difference for patients in need so we rely on getting that message out to help make the difference for us at a really critical time of year.”

To donate convalescent plasma, you must have had a positive COVID-19 PCR test, be recovered for 28 days, and be at least 17 years old.

You can find more information on how to donate at the QC blood center’s website or by calling (563)-264-2967.

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