Screening for COVID-19 is tight as community donates blood


Photo by Godwin Agaba

Donors stretch out on cots and give blood in Miami University’s Shriver Center.

By Godwin Agaba

People with COVID-19 symptoms cannot donate blood but those who have suffered from the disease and recovered can. That distinction prompted tight screening Thursday, Feb. 25, as members of the Miami and Oxford community rolled up their sleeves to give.

“Those who have had COVID have to wait 28 days after their last symptoms before they donate,” said Davin Monk, team leader for the Community Blood Center, who conducted the drive at Shriver Center. 

“We have a lot of people who are donating blood who have had COVID before,” Monk said. “So, if they had COVID, they have antibodies in their bloodstream, and after a while, we use these antibodies to treat people.”

Before anyone donates blood, they are given a sheet with a list of symptoms to look out for. If a donor develops symptoms within 24 hours of giving, even for a cold, they have to call and get their blood discarded.

“If the blood has been used already, we do patient tracking and inform their doctors,” Monk said. “The doctors get hold of the donor and inform them of what is happening.”

Monk said people should not fear giving or receiving blood because the screening is very thorough. Potential donors are asked if they have symptoms, checked for fever and asked if they have recently been exposed to anyone with COVID. They also are asked if they have recently traveled to areas where there have been outbreaks of the disease. 

Anyone can donate blood as long as they are eligible based on the criteria, and all blood types are accepted, Monk said.  

A steady stream of donors, students and community members streamed through Shriver from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Thursday drive. 

Monk noted that the center needs 350-400 units of blood a day. 

Based in Dayton, the Community Blood Center serves 23 hospitals in 15 counties across Ohio and Indiana.

According to the center’s website, someone needs blood every two seconds. That equates to 4.5 million Americans needing a transfusion every year and 43,000 pints of donated blood used in the U.S. and Canada every day.

Monk said the next Oxford blood drive will be April 21.