Published by Kirby Winn on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in News Releases
(July 14, 2020 | Davenport, Iowa) – As COVID-19 infection rates increase across our region, Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center has an urgent need to replace donations lost to blood drive cancellations. As the need for donors persists, MVRBC has implemented changes to donor eligibility based on revised guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of the changes approved by FDA will permit donations by many donors previously deferred due to exposure Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD or Mad Cow Disease). To make an appointment for donation, call Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center at (800) 747-5401 or sign up online at www.bloodcenter.org.
The revised guidance from FDA eliminates the deferral of individuals who spent time on U.S. military bases in Europe. The deferral will remain for those who spent time in the United Kingdom (cumulative 3 months from 1980-1996) and France or Ireland (cumulative 5 years from 1980-2001). Donors who have questions regarding their eligibility for donation as it relates to exposure to vCJD are asked to call the Blood Center’s Donor Services Auditing team at (800) 747-5401.
Blood donors are greatly needed amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as many organizations have been forced to cancel previously scheduled blood drives. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it challenging to provide our region’s blood supply, said Lindsay Peters, Director, Customer Relations. “Blood utilization at hospitals has returned to normal levels, with many hospitals now working through a backlog of elective surgery,” said Peters. “It’s up to us to meet the needs of every hospital we serve, but we can’t do it without volunteer donors stepping forward.”
Blood donation is considered an essential service for health care and has continued throughout the COVID19 pandemic. The Blood Center has taken steps to ensure blood drives will remain an acceptable activity under federal, state, and local public health guidelines. Masks or facial coverings are required for all staff and donors at Donor Centers and blood drives, and all donors are required to make an appointment for donation. By eliminating walk-in donations during the pandemic, the Blood Center can exert greater control over donor flow and social distancing.
Under ideal conditions, MVRBC would collect more than 3500 units of whole blood every week to ensure its ability to provide a sufficient blood supply for our region. With recent cancellations of mobile blood drives, collections are projected to average approximately 3200 donations per week between now and Labor Day. “We are working to prevent a shortage,” said Amanda Hess, Director, Donor and Public Relations. “That will take additional donors making appointments to give and new groups adding mobile blood drives to our calendar.”
As an added ‘Thank You’ for donating, all presenting donors will receive a voucher for a $10 gift card and double points to spend in the Blood Center’s donor loyalty store. The voucher for the $10 gift card, available through Sept. 13, is redeemable online or by phone for the donor’s choice of Amazon.com, Target, Subway, Burger King, iTunes/App Store, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, or Domino’s.
Under the donor loyalty program, donors earn points with each donation that can be redeemed in the Blood Center’s online loyalty store for exclusive donor gifts such as apparel, drinkware, and phone accessories.
To maintain a safe, hygienic environment at Donor Centers and blood drives:
- All staff and donors are now required to wear a face covering while inside Donor Centers or participating in a mobile blood drive. Paper masks will be provided for those who arrive without their own mask or facial covering.
- Donors are now required to make appointments for donation. To maintain social distancing and appropriate donor flow, walk-ins will only be accepted when an appointment slot is available.
- Please do not give blood if you are experiencing any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection or have in the last 14 days been within six feet of someone who has the virus or is being tested for the virus for greater than 15 minutes without use of personal protective equipment.
- Prior to donation, donors are screened for symptoms of illness (body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level all are checked, and the donor completes a pre-donation Donor History Questionnaire).
- When possible, donors are asked to complete the Donor History Questionnaire online on the same day as their donation (see www.bloodcenter.org/EarlyQ)
- Staff have added space between chairs in screening areas and in the post-donation refreshment area. Between donations, staff wipe down chairs and surfaces to maintain a safe, hygienic environment.
About Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), based in Davenport, Iowa, serves 115 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, as well as resource sharing partners across the country. The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit blood center was established in 1974 and operates as Central Illinois Community Blood Center (Springfield, Illinois) and Community Blood Services of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois).
The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and visit the Blood Center’s social media channels: www.facebook.com/MVRBC, www.twitter.com/willyougive, www.youtube.com/MVRBC, and www.instagram.com/willyougive/.