Updated: April 15, 2020
What is Convalescent Plasma?
- Plasma Definition:
- Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood.
- When you donate whole blood, plasma and red cells are separated and collected for transfusions.
- The entire process takes about 25 minutes longer than a regular whole blood donation and is performed using the same process as a double red donation.
- The only difference is instead of keeping red cells and returning plasma to the donor; the machine collects plasma and returns red blood cells to the donor.
- Generally, plasma helps trauma patients, burn victims, cancer patients, and countless others.
- CP Definition: Convalescent plasma treatment is the transfusion of plasma from someone who has recovered from an infection to someone suffering from it, in the hopes that the passive transfer of antibodies will help the patient fight off the infection.
- An individual must have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis via confirmed lab test.
- MEDIC will not be collecting convalescent plasma from community members who may have had a previous infection and believe that they had COVID-19 earlier this year or late last year.
- There is no blood center testing that MEDIC can do to confirm immunity to COVID-19 from an unknown past infection.
- Right now, there simply aren’t a lot of COVID-19 patients verified through testing, who have recovered symptom free, for at least 14 days prior to donation and with a follow-up, verified negative COVID-19 lab test results, who would qualify in East Tennessee.
- MEDIC is not a healthcare provider and thus does not provide a coronavirus test nor do we test for COVID-19 antibodies.
If you have a confirmed COVID-19 lab test and believe you are eligible to donate COVID Convalescent Plasma, please click here for the information form. Or, Click here for the attestation paperwork needed to donate. Once your form is received, it will be reviewed by MEDIC Regional Blood Center staff members and we will be in touch shortly.
Thank you for being a great donor. In light of Governor Lee’s latest executive order for Tennesseans to “Stay at Home”, we wanted to reach out to remind you that blood donation is a critical health care activity. Blood banks are considered an essential service and our products support the important work of our regional hospitals.
MEDIC Regional Blood Center was established in 1958 and is an independent, nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with the American Red Cross. MEDIC serves 25 hospitals in 22 counties. We want to remind you that this situation is long term and we will continue to need your donations in the coming weeks to meet the demands of our hospitals.
What action steps has MEDIC taken during the COVID-19 outbreak?
- Donors at the four donor centers will be seen by appointment only until further notice.
- As guidelines change and to continue to comply with social distancing guidelines, we are temporarily suspending mobile bus drives until further notice.
- Why appointment only?
- This will allow donors to follow the 6’ recommendations for distance from others.
- This action greatly reduces wait times from 2+ hours to less than 15 minutes.
- This allows MEDIC staff to better manage donor flow.
- It is a recommendation from AABB – one of the governing bodies for blood banking.
- Schedule Your Appointment:
- Online at www.medicblood.org -> Click the donate tab and then on the center in which you’d like to donate. There is a link that to “click here” to schedule your appointment.
- Call 865-524-3074 and ask to schedule an appointment.
- Masks for Collections Staff: As blood is an essential resource for the healthcare system, and in an abundance of caution to protect the health and wellness of both our donors and collections staff, we have implemented the use of N95 masks for our collections staff so that we can continue to collect blood through the COVID-19 situation.
- Wellness Check-In: Staff, donors and visitors undergo a daily check-in upon arrival at any facility or mobile drive.
- The check-in includes a temperature check
- Temperature must be 99.5 degrees or less to continue.
- Staff members with a temperature over 99.5 are sent home for the day and may not return until they have been fever-free without medication for 24 hours.
- Donors and visitors over 99.5 will be asked to return on a different day.
- The check-in includes a temperature check
- The check-in asks donors and visitors if they have traveled to various metro areas in the United States.
- The check-in also includes asking someone if they feel healthy and well and if someone in the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19/Coronavirus.
- FDA Updates: You may have seen news stories relating to FDA updates and the blood donation process.
- The FDA reviewed recently completed studies and epidemiologic data and concluded that current policies for specific donor eligibility rules could be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply.
- MEDIC is carefully evaluating options.
- The process to change our standard operating procedures is lengthy and will take time to implement.
- MEDIC will continue to prioritize the safety of our donors and the blood supply.
Reminders about the Donation Process:
- After completing the initial check-in, each donor goes through a mini physical that includes a temperature check as well as a visual check on the donor’s well-being. We look for coughing, nose draining or if the donor is having a hard time breathing.
- Individuals should not donate if they are feeling ill.
- Donors are always asked a series of questions that include whether they have traveled outside the country.
- MEDIC follows appropriate infection control standards of donor rooms and mobile buses and uses single-use equipment for collection procedures and frequent cleaning and hand washing.
- Blood collected at MEDIC is always tested for various infectious diseases.
- Blood donation is not a mass gathering or social event.
- MEDIC is following Knox County Health Department guidelines and updates.
- According to the FDA, there is no known risk of transmission of COVID-19 through the blood donation process or from blood transfusions.
- According to the FDA, there is no intrinsic risk of the safety of the blood supply, but there is risk to the availability of blood for patients in need because of an increase in cancelled donation appointments and blood drives.
- The blood on the shelves right now is the blood that would be used in a trauma/disaster situation, for surgeries and for cancer patients in need of a blood transfusion due to treatments.
- MEDIC serves 25 hospitals in 22 counties.
- It is imperative that healthy and well individuals continue to donate in the coming weeks.