Blood donation included in list of exempted activities under San Antonio’s mandatory ‘stay at home’ order
Because blood donation has been designated an essential activity necessary for maintaining the blood supply, blood banks are included on the list of Health Care Services and activities that are exempted from the “Stay Home Work Safe Measures” announced yesterday by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.
The announcement was included in the 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. today. This exemption allows donors and employees of BioBridge Global and the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, to continue with the lifesaving activities involved in giving and collecting blood and in providing it to hospitals and patients in our community.
This follows 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. He noted that blood donation is a safe action people can take at a time when many feel powerless.
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor rooms remain open, and several drives have been scheduled in larger community centers that allow appropriate social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to social distancing practices, STBTC is taking numerous precautions to keep donors safe, including additional sanitation measures and temperature checks of potential donors and staff as they enter facilities. All donors undergo a mini physical, and are asked about recent travel and other potential exposure to COVID-19.
All donation is by appointment only, to manage donor flow and avoid crowding. If donors are unable to keep their appointments, they are asked to call 210-731-5590 so slots can be opened up for other donors.
“Going to appointment-only donations means we are reserving a spot when an appointment is made,” said Elizabeth Waltman, chief operating officer of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center. “If donors will call us if they can’t keep an appointment, we can re-fill that spot and maintain our collection levels and our blood supply.”
Drives scheduled this week include:
March 23-27, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
San Antonio Shrine Auditorium
901 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, TX 78232
March 26-27, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Midway Hall at the Event Complex Fairgrounds
728 Midway, Seguin, TX 78155
March 28-29, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saint Peter the Apostle Catholic Church (in the gym)
202 W Kronkosky St., Boerne, TX 78006
“The community really stepped up last week to give blood at our donor rooms and at the drive the City of San Antonio allowed us to hold in the Alamodome,” said Waltman.
“Our goal is to build up a 15-20 day supply of blood, and we are talking with our hospitals on a daily basis to understand the amount of blood they are using and continue to adjust our collection goals to align with their needs. We especially welcome new donors and those with type-O blood.”
The need for blood continues for accident victims, new moms and their babies, cancer patients and those undergoing surgery.
Coronavirus concerns have led to the cancellation of blood drives across the nation. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Health made an urgent appeal for the public to donate blood.
Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, reiterated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood.
Donors can make an appointment at SouthTexasBlood.org/Give-Now or by calling 210-731-5590.
All donors will receive an e-gift card of their choice from the new STBTC Donor Store. Selections include GrubHub, Hulu and Amazon.com.