The Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) would like to assure donors that donating blood is safe.
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.
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.
As a precaution, WCBS requests blood donors to refrain from presenting to donate blood if they have:
o Recently returned from travel outside of South Africa’s borders;
o Lived with individuals diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 infection;
o Been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 infection.
The WCBS would also like to reassure blood donors that as part of our daily protocols, clinic staff maintain a high level of hand hygiene. Staff sanitise their hands regularly by washing their hands 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.
The WCBS is currently experiencing a critical shortage of O and B blood groups. The WCBS would like to urge all healthy blood donors who belong to all blood groups to continue to donate blood to ensure that the blood stock levels are adequate during these challengingtimes. “We anticipate added pressure on the blood supply during Easter, Ramadaan and the winter months and the added effects of the Coronavirus could see the number of eligible donors decrease in the following few months”, says Michelle Vermeulen, Promotions, PR and Planning Manager for the WCBS.
The WCBS urges donors to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of fellow citizens. 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. And, 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 you require any additional information or if you would like to find a blood donation clinic close to you, please contact the WCBS on 021 507 6300 or visit the website www.wcbs.org.za for more information.