Blood donation is currently at a high due to the Covid-19 pandemic shutting down many traditional blood drives. The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is also currently looking for those who have recovered from Covid-19 to offer up their convalescent plasma to help patients currently fighting the virus.
The use of convalescent COVID plasma by hospitals in the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center’s four-state service region of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin has increased from approximately 125 doses per week to more than 500 per week over the last six weeks. CICBC began working with such donors in April 2020 to provide the convalescent treatment under an emergency use rule with the USDA. The convalescent therapy has been shown to lessen the severity of the virus and shorten the length of the disease.
Regional Blood Center Public Relations Manager Kirby Winn says that convalescent donors need only set up an appointment and go through some extra steps to donate at any of their sponsored blood drives: “We need the appointments set up so that the equipment we use to collect the plasma donation is also available, as it is some specialized equipment for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. The way to schedule is probably easiest to look us up online and go from there at bloodcenter.org. Also, specifically with convalescent plasma, we need to make sure that the donor qualifies according to a number of criteria that we have. The real starting point is to talk with our team. We do have a form on our webpage for people to refer themselves as a potential plasma donor if they have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.”
Winn says potential plasma donors can call 883-610-1025 if they don’t have access to fill out the donor form on bloodcenter.org. Donors must be fully recovered from their COVID-19 infection and must meet all standard eligibility criteria for blood donation. Plasma will only be collected from donors with laboratory-confirmed tests showing the donor had a COVID-19 infection. Donors must be at least 28 days from the last date they had respiratory symptoms.
Winn says that if potential donors cannot make it to one of the Central Illinois Community Blood Center mobile blood drive events they can book an appointment at the CICBC Springfield Donor Center located at 1999 Wabash Avenue on Springfield’s West End.
CICBC will be hosting 2 mobile blood drives in Jacksonville on December 7th and December 14th at the Community Center in Community Park. Winn says by calling the hotline, visiting the website, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the drive, they can bring the plasma donation equipment for your donation appointment if it is available.