The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and preparing to carry out our lifesaving mission in the event of any possible disruptions, as well as supporting public health agencies to help communities prepare.
We will continue to work with U.S. officials and partners to determine what support may be needed in the coming days and weeks as the situation continues to evolve. In particular, we will continue to collaborate with AABB, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply for patients in need.
Right now, the American Red Cross encourages healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at redcrossblood.org to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and avoid any potential shortages. 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.
It’s important to emphasize that there is no data or evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, worldwide. Nonetheless, the American Red Cross has implemented new blood donation deferrals out of an abundance of caution. We are now asking that individuals postpone their donation for 28 days following:
- Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea.
- Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has the virus, or is suspected to have it.
At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. Furthermore, Red Cross employees are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the spread of any type of infection.
Overseas, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are supporting communities in preparing for the virus and protecting families from getting sick. Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are educating communities about how to mitigate the spread of this virus, offering community-based health and hygiene promotion, providing access to basic services, and fighting rumors and stigma.
For everyday health safety and preparedness steps people in the U.S. can take now in response to coronavirus concerns, please review these helpful tips.
For information on the AABB Disaster Task Force on Domestic Disaster and Acts of Terrorism response to the need for blood donations during this outbreak, please read their release.
For the latest information on this coronavirus outbreak please visit the CDC website.