Fighting Coronavirus and Keeping Our community safe

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has been following reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health agencies on coronavirus and the illness called COVID-19, and are responding with steps needed to protect the health of donors, staff and the communities we serve.

Give Blood

We are urgently asking donors to continue to donate blood if they are well and healthy. As we saw here and across the nation just a month ago, blood shortages also post a serious health risk to our community. There are many patients who can’t wait for coronavirus to go away. Your lifesaving donation helps sustain the blood supply for cancer patients, car accident victims, moms delivering newborns and many other patients in need.

Health Care Services, including blood banks, are included in the list of activities and businesses that are exempted from the “Stay Home Work Safe Measures” included in the March 23 Declaration of Public Health Emergency Regarding COVID-19 by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24. This exemption allows donors and employees of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to continue with the lifesaving activities involved in giving and collecting blood and in providing it to hospitals and patients in our community. This is in line with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s announcement on March 14 designating blood donation as an “essential city function,” necessary for maintaining the community blood supply.

Keep Healthy

Your health should always be a priority, not just for your own well being, but also because it allows you to continue to save lives through blood donation. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy.

Safety and Preparedness Tips

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Or cough/sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (computers, phones, etc.) and surfaces (countertops, desks, dining tables, etc.) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Help us share these 5 Tips to Fight Coronavirus and the Flu on social media.

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Know the Symptoms

Continue to monitor your health and seek medical attention if you display any of the CDC says symptoms of COVID-19 infection or the flu. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should stay home and call your healthcare provider.

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever, cough and shortness of breath
  • Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure.

Symptoms of the flu:

  • Fever, cough and shortness of breath as well as body aches, fatigue and additional respiratory problems.
  • Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure.

How STBTC is keeping the community safe

Below you will also find safety protocols we've implemented to keep our donors, staff and community safe before, during and after the donation process.

    Staff
  • All employees are screened for temperature and COVID-19 symptoms each day before they are allowed to work. If an employee becomes ill, they must stay home until 24 hours after a fever has resolved.

  • STBTC staff have been instructed to avoid travel to locations where there are known outbreaks of COVID-19, and to self-quarantine if they have visited a country the CDC has identified as a site of a significant outbreak.

  • STBTC staff have been advised to travel to and from mobile blood drives individually, rather than in groups, to ensure proper social distancing.

  • A staff supervisor is identified at every location who is dedicated solely to monitoring social distancing.

  • Staff members change gloves and sanitize surfaces in the screening area between donors as well as wear masks as recommended by the CDC.

    Mobile Blood Drives & Donor Rooms
  • The use of bloodmobiles at mobile blood drives has been suspended. STBTC has instead partnered with area organizations and businesses to make larger, open spaces available for proper social distancing.

  • We do everything possible to maintain proper spacing among blood donors and staff. Reception and waiting areas, as well as donor beds at donor rooms and drives are set up to maintain at least six feet between donors and staff and are sanitized after use.

  • The number of donors allowed in donation locations or waiting areas at any given time is limited to avoid crowding.

  • All our drives and donor rooms also have information sheets about steps to take to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    The Donation Process
  • Donors receive a mandatory temperature check at check-in.

  • Additional hand sanitation stations are posted at check-in and throughout the donation process.

  • In addition to the usual donor history questionnaire and mini-physical, potential donors are asked questions concerning recent travel to areas affected by COVID-19.

  • Individuals are also asked to self-defer and not donate blood for 28 days if they have:

    • cared for, lived with, or otherwise had close contact with individuals diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.
    • been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.
    • This is being done as a cautionary measure since respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood donation or transfusion.
  • Each donation collection kit is new, single use and unopened until the time of use.

Additional information

To ensure you're up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak, here is additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas Department of State Health Services and San Antonio Metro Health.