The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the evolving outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
We are currently supporting government agencies and state officials to assist evacuees returning to the U.S. from China. When requested, our role is to provide blankets, comfort kits, snacks, stuffed animals and other support items for those who have been quarantined at government facilities. The American Red Cross will continue to work with U.S. officials to determine what additional support may be needed in the coming days and weeks.
Overseas, the Red Cross of China is supporting its government to help meet the huge and sudden demand for ambulance services and medical items including masks and gowns. In China, thousands of volunteers have mobilized to distribute lifesaving health information to communities—many are visiting people at their homes and on the streets to check their temperatures to ensure they get the medical support needed in case they have the virus. Internationally, Red Cross societies are educating communities about how to mitigate the spread of this virus—such as delivering aid to families under quarantine—and informing people how to stay healthy.
It is important to note that there have been no reported blood transfusion transmissions of respiratory viruses including coronaviruses and influenza-like viruses worldwide at this time. As always, the American Red Cross remains dedicated to providing the safest, most reliable blood products possible to patients in need in the U.S.
While the risk of contracting any coronavirus through a blood transfusion is extremely low, out of an abundance of caution, the Red Cross asks that all individuals who have traveled to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, postpone their blood donation until 28 days following return to the U.S. The Red Cross also asks individuals who have been diagnosed with 2019 Coronavirus or cared for, lived with or had direct contact with body fluids of a person with 2019 Coronavirus or suspected 2019 Coronavirus to self-defer, or postpone donating blood or platelets for 28 days. We continue to evaluate all emerging risks in collaboration with AABB, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions. We urge healthy individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at redcrossblood.org to help avoid a shortage during the winter months when blood donations decrease.
For the latest information, including tips on how to stay healthy, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.