Officials say plasma levels are 'critical.'
Local blood banks are urging those recovered from the COVID-19 virus to donate plasma this week.
Jayne Giroux, director of community development for SunCoast Blood Centers, said there is concern that gatherings during the July 4 holiday will cause an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
“Several local hospitals are relying on convalescent plasma from recovered patients as the first line of treatment for COVID-19 patients. Demand is high and there is not enough of the product available to meet the needs of local patients,” Giroux said.
She said blood centers around the country have been asked to double the amount of plasma collected in anticipation of greater need as more people with the virus are hospitalized. SunCoast currently only has enough available for 22 treatments for the 10 hospitals it serves.
Giroux said SunCoast is testing every donor for exposure to SARS-Co V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but a very small percentage come back positive. The best candidates for convalescent plasma donation are those who had a positive diagnostic lab test for the virus and are completely recovered.
“When someone has a positive diagnostic test, they can donate their plasma right away,” Giroux said. “They must be symptom free for at least 14 days before they donate.”
SunCoast Blood Centers has four donation centers, including one in Lakewood Ranch at 3025 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Suite 111, Bradenton.
For information, visit scbb.org.