Is it safe to donate blood during the Coronavirus outbreak?
Yes, blood donation is a safe and sterile procedure.
What protocols are in place to keep blood donation clinics safe?
Clinic staff have always maintained a high level of hand hygiene. All donors will need to sanitise their hands before entering a clinic and WCBS staff will conduct a COVID-19 screening with donors before proceeding to the next step. Staff wear compulsory personal protection equipment (PPE) such as facemasks. All donors will be required to wear a facemask. Staff monitoring the entrance of a clinic will wear both a visor and mask. 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 are 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, all donors will need to complete a COVID-19 screening before continuing to donate. Blood donors must be in good health on the day of donation, and be negative for any risk factors surveyed by the COVID-19 screening and 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 during blood donation?
All WCBS staff have been issued with face masks to cover their nose and mouth and it will be compulsory for all staff to wear these masks at all times at work. All staff who are unable to maintain a physical distance of more than one metre from donors, for example when testing a donor's haemoglobin level or inserting the needle, are required to wear a face mask and visor/safety goggles.
All donors will be required to wear face masks when donating blood.