Life under a 21-day lockdown could turn out to be an uncharted mix of comfort and insanity. As the time approaches for us to undergo one of the biggest changes to our daily lives, essential services such as the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) will remain open and are appealing to donors from all blood groups to continue donating blood.
The organisation aims to collect 3 000 units of blood per day to ensure a sufficient blood supply is available to the healthcare system.
Both new and existing donors are encouraged to visit a donor centre near them, and all donor centres remaining open during the lockdown period will have “extended operating hours to accommodate social distancing measures”, their Facebook post reads.
Donors must make an appointment before visiting their donor centres, and will need proof of identification, as well as an SMS confirming their blood donation appointment.
The blood service has stipulated the following precautionary measures:
- People who have travelled to affected countries outside South Africa will be deferred for 21 days.
- People with confirmed cases of coronavirus infection will be deferred for 28 days from the date of complete clearance of symptoms.
- People who have been in close contact with confirmed or probable coronavirus cases will be deferred for 21 days from the last date of contact.
People who are experiencing any flu-like symptoms or signs of infection are also advised to delay donation until they are in good health.
Donation sites regularly disinfected
Visitors to SANBS will be assessed via a questionnaire for Covid-19 exposure, News24 reported last week. The article also explained that SANBS donation sites are regularly disinfected.
"To ensure that the people who utilise our facilities are protected, we are assessing donors at the doors and at access points into mobile sites." Our donation sites are regularly disinfected with alcohol.
"We have also equipped all our clinics and mobile site entrances with antiseptic sprays and alcohol wipes,” the SANBS said.
You cannot contract the new coronavirus through blood
There is no evidence to suggest that the Covid-19 virus can be transmitted through blood, the SANBS explained: “Individuals are not at risk of contracting Covid-19 through the blood donation or via a blood transfusion process since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmittable by donation or transfusion.”
You can find your closest donor centre here.
*The SANBS does not operate in the Western Cape. For blood donation centres in the Western Cape, please refer to The Western Cape Blood Service.
*As of 25 March 2020, there are 709 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in South Africa. Find all the updates here.
Image: SDI Productions/Getty