OneBlood, the not-for-profit blood center, is actively collecting plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus so it can be transfused to people with life-threatening coronavirus infection in hopes of aiding their recovery.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was OneBlood’s first COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor, and less than a week later, several more people have stepped forward to donate. Among the qualified donors, a cardiologist and a registered dietician.
The experimental treatment is approved by the FDA to be used on an emergency basis and is called “COVID-19 convalescent plasma”.
“OneBlood is actively identifying qualified donors and arranging for their donations. In some cases, donations have been issued to hospitals within 24 hours of a person donating,” said Susan Forbes, senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations at OneBlood.
People who recover from coronavirus infection have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood. Transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.
In addition to State Health Departments, OneBlood is working directly with their hospital partners and physicians to identify people who have recovered from the coronavirus who can be potential donors. OneBlood has also launched a social media initiative to bring heightened awareness to people who have recovered from the virus, letting them know that they are needed and could hold the potential key to helping critically ill coronavirus patients recover.
“Hospitals are eager to use this therapeutic treatment. OneBlood has the ability to help during an unprecedented time and our team is working around the clock to meet the growing demand for COVID-19 convalescent plasma,” said Forbes.
People who think they may be a candidate are urged to go to OneBlood’s website at www.oneblood.org to fill out the online form. Donors who meet the FDA criteria to be a donor will be contacted by OneBlood to coordinate their donation.
In addition to local efforts, OneBlood is also cooperating with the federal government and anticipates participating in a national-level initiative to be able to provide convalescent plasma when and where it is needed.
OneBlood is one of the largest blood centers in the country and already has the technology in place to be able to collect, test and process plasma from donors.
Donor Eligibility Requirements
- COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood
- Required testing must be performed and the donation must be found suitable
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test
- Complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation
- Have a negative result for COVID-19
- Meet all standard FDA blood donation requirements
In addition, the recipients of the plasma will also have to meet FDA criteria in order to qualify to receive this therapy for treating life-threatening COVID-19.
Medical Supply Donations
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, BRACE (Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies) and Hillcrest Baptist Church have established a continuous site for medical supply donations. Donations can be made from 9 a.m.-5p.m. Monday-Friday at both Hillcrest Baptist Church campuses–800 E Nine Mile Rd and 3960 Spanish Trail Road. Donation sites at this location will be available at least until April 20.
Community Health Northwest Florida will expand the hours of its COVID-19 testing site at Cantonment Pediatrics 470 South Highway 29 Unit B testing site by adding Monday to testing days starting next week.
Beginning April 13, the site will operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Before visiting the site, patients must call the Ascension Sacred Heart screening line to be pre-screened at 850-746-2684.
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Health released updated numbers Wednesday morning about the coronavirus in the state. Here are some takeaways:
— 15,456: Total number of cases.
— 709: Increase in cases from a Tuesday evening count.
— 309: Deaths of Florida residents.
— 13: Increase in deaths from a Tuesday evening count.
— 1,956: Florida residents hospitalized.
— 415: Cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
— 35: Increase in long-term care cases from a Tuesday evening count.
— 83: Percentage of deaths involving people 65 or older.
— 143,247: Test results received by the Department of Health.
— 10.8: Percentage of positive test results statewide.
— 28,683: Test results received by the Department of Health from Miami-Dade County.
— 5,354: Positive test results in Miami-Dade County.
Source: Florida Department of Health
Alabama: 2,369 cases, 66 reported deaths (eight in Mobile County) *
Mississippi: 2,003 cases, 67 deaths
Louisiana: 17,030 cases, 652 deaths (Orleans Parish 208 deaths, Jefferson Parish 149 deaths)
*Mobile County has only conducted 1,391 tests