Dubuque County health officials urging recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma

Patrice Lambert with the Dubuque County Public Health Department said plasma from people who...
Patrice Lambert with the Dubuque County Public Health Department said plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 could save the lives of those still battling the virus.
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 9:02 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Sunnycrest Manor is one of several Dubuque County nursing homes that has overcome a coronavirus outbreak.

“It has been, you know, I want to say wearing on the staff,” interim administrator Tammy Freiburger said. “But we have pulled together as a Sunnycrest community and we have taken it on.”

But she said some good has come out of it.

“We do have some staff that have secured their positive results and they are required to go and have antibody testing prior to donating plasma,” she said.

That is something Patrice Lambert, director of the Dubuque County Public Health Department, hopes to see more of.

She said people who recover from the virus develop antibodies that could help those infected.

“By receiving someone else’s antibodies for this virus, that can actually lessen some of the symptoms that that person might experience and ultimately it might end up saving their life,” she explained.

To donate plasma, Lambert said you must be 17 years old or older, must have tested positive for the virus, and must be at least 28 days out of that diagnosis.

She said, though, they have learned this is not something many people know about, so the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), who is in charge of contact tracing, is stepping in.

“We wanted to up our efforts on our end, because it was not something we were doing prior,” Stacey Killian, administrator of the VNA, said. “Just this week we started going back 28 days following up with those positive cases and encourage them and give them the education on where they can donate.”

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