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The Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) is currently experiencing a critical shortage of O- and B+ blood groups and are urging healthy donors who belong to all blood groups to continue to donate blood to ensure that the blood stock levels are adequate at all times in the Western Cape.

Tracey Lange chats to Michelle Vermeulen - PR, Planning and Promotions Manager at the Western Cape Blood Service.

COVID-19 and Blood Donation FAQs

Is it safe to donate blood during the Coronavirus outbreak?

Yes, blood donation is a safe and sterile procedure.

What hygiene-protocols are in place to keep blood donation clinics sterile?

Clinic staff maintain a high level of hand hygiene. Staff sanitise their hands regularly with soap and water in addition to using hand sanitiser before and after each encounter with a donor. Hand sanitiser and wet wipes will also be readily available for donors to use at each clinic.

Can COVID-19 be transfused in donated blood?

There is currently no reason to suspect that COVID-19 can be transmitted through blood transfusion. This is based on the fact that respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.

Is donated blood tested for COVID-19?

No, the WCBS does not test for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). If you are feeling unwell or exhibiting any clinical symptoms of infection (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath), please seek medical attention or contact the NICD hotline on 0800 029 999.

Will someone with the Coronavirus symptoms still be allowed to donate?

No. Routine blood donor health assessment measures that are already in place will prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. For example, blood donors must be in good health on the day of donation, and be negative for any risk factors surveyed by the blood donor questionnaire.

Can I still donate blood if I have travelled outside of South Africa?

You have to wait 28 days after your return to South Africa before donating blood again.

Can I donate blood if I have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

You have to wait 28 days after your last contact with a person diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 before donating blood again.

Can I donate blood if I’ve had COVID-19?

You have to wait 28 days after the resolution of your symptoms after a diagnosis of COVID-19 before donating blood again.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 after donating blood?

Should you develop Coronavirus infection within 28 days of donating blood, please urgently contact the WCBS Medical Staff on (021) 507 6319, 507 6320, or 507 6329.

Should blood donors and WCBS staff wear face masks and gloves during blood donation?

Currently, there is a global and national shortage of face masks and gloves, and as a responsible corporate citizen, the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) supports the use of masks and gloves for health care workers in acute clinical care settings – e.g. when dealing with patients with respiratory illnesses in the current circumstances.

For more information, visit www.wcbs.org.za

Listen below for the full interview with the Western Cape Blood Service.

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