Kentucky Blood Center is reminding Kentuckians of the importance of donating blood, especially as elective surgeries resume this week at the 70 hospitals KBC serves across the state.

According to a statement from KBC, blood donors showed remarkable support at the onset of the global pandemic in March as many first-time donors and people who had not donated in many years came out to save lives and ensure an adequate blood supply. With the suspension of elective surgeries and procedures in Kentucky, the blood supply remained healthy throughout April. Now, as the nonprofit prepares for larger orders from its hospital partners, it is encouraging donors to roll up their sleeves again.

"We were overwhelmed by the support we saw from donors in March,” said Bill Reed, Kentucky Blood Center CEO. “It’s just as important for those donors to keep this healthy habit going and donate again. Blood has a shelf life, so we need donors to give the gift of life on a frequent basis.”

KBC continues to require appointments during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure social distancing at its donor centers and on mobile blood drives. Donors are also encouraged to complete their health history questionnaire online (QuickPass) on the day of donation to limit their time at the facility. Per new state requirements, beginning May 11, donors will be required to wear a face covering when visiting our donor centers or mobile blood drives. KBC will also take the temperature of all donors when entering the facility (or mobile blood drive) and during the screening process.

As always, donors should be feeling well on the day of donation. To make an appointment to donate or to review all of the steps KBC is taking to ensure donor safety during the global pandemic, visit www.kybloodcenter.org. Appointments also can be made by calling, (800) 775-2522.

Kentucky Blood Center continues to lead convalescent plasma collection nationally

Kentucky Blood Center said in the statement the organization was proud to be the very first community blood center to collect plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient after the FDA approved the experimental treatment for critically ill patients on March 26. Since that time, KBC has assisted numerous hospital partners with the plasma collection and to date has obtained more than 120 doses of convalescent plasma for Kentucky patients.

Kentucky Blood Center has established an online registry form where recovered COVID-19 patients can express their interest in being a donor.The nonprofit is not currently testing for COVID-19 antibodies, but continues to collect information from those  with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and those who believe they may have had the virus but did not get tested. KBC will reach out to donors with out a confirmed diagnosis when they can conduct the antibody testing.

“As Kentucky continues to increase its testing capacity, there will be more and more potential donors for this program,” said Dr. Dennis Williams, medical director for KBC. “We encourage those with confirmed cases to complete the registry so we can continue to bank plasma for patients now and in the event of a possible resurgence later.”

Potential donors will need documentation of their positive COVID-19 test. A patient may then be able to donate if they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days and a second COVID-19 test has negative results. KBC will work with the donor to obtain the second test if it has not already been completed. The donor will complete the blood donation health history questionnaire on the day of donation to qualify for blood donation. The plasma donation itself takes 1-2 hours.

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