Important information for Blood Donors regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
At New Zealand Blood Service, our priority is making all our sites safe to visit. Even though New Zealand has gone into lockdown the need for whole blood, plasma and platelet donations doesn’t stop.
We are encouraging all donors who are fit and healthy to continue with their donations. We have created this page to keep you informed of the steps we are taking to keep our sites COVID-19 free, and you safe when you come to give a blood donation.
It is in times like these that we are truly blessed to have such a committed, loyal group of donors, and we thank everyone in the NZ Blood Service family for coming together to keep the supply of blood flowing for New Zealand.
We may implement more changes as time progresses, we appreciate your patience and understanding.
Latest Updates 25th March 2020
As of Thursday 26th March we will be putting new processes in place to comply with Government guidelines and keep our donors and staff safe.
- A qualified staff member will greet donors on arrival outside the donor centre to ask general health questions and manage the flow of donors.
- Where possible social distancing will be maintained for all our donors including in the reception area, waiting area, donor booths, and on the donor beds.
- Restrictions on the number of donors on site will be implemented.
- Alcohol hand sanitisers will be readily available throughout the donor floor and donors and staff will be expected to use these regularly.
- All equipment will be wiped down after EACH donation.
- All needles and bags are single use and will be disposed of in a hygienic manner.
- Protective gear such as gloves will be worn where necessary
- All shared areas and donor touched areas will be wiped down after use.
- We have implemented a daily checklist to ensure everything is sanitised before and after donations.
- New travel deferral of 28 days (4 weeks) will apply to anyone who has returned from overseas.
- Travelling to donate blood is classified as essential travel
New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) has a dedicated working group of experts that includes medical staff and donor care teams who are closely monitoring global developments in relation to COVID-19 and advising on any specific actions required. NZBS has robust processes in place to ensure the safety of New Zealand’s blood supply and the health and well-being of our donors.
Information for our donors and visitors
Please read the below important information regarding blood donation and COVID-19.
- Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that stays that way.
- Blood has a short shelf life (35 days), so eligible individuals are asked to donate to help ensure an adequate blood supply can be maintained. An outbreak could reduce the number of eligible donors.
- All blood donors must be healthy, feeling well and free from respiratory illness symptoms to be eligible to give blood.
- All healthy blood donors are asked to book appointments and keep commitments to donate blood.
- If you do feel unwell, please reschedule or cancel your appointment. Please let us know, as we can try to fill your appointment space.
- Donors who might feel unwell in the 48 hours after donating are asked to notify us immediately.
- Routine blood donor screening measures, which include travel deferrals, are already in place to ensure individuals who are unwell, or have recently travelled to high-risk countries are deferred from donating blood.
- By their very nature our donors are very caring and responsible people. Any donor at all unsure about their eligibility to donate is asked to call 0800 448 325 for further advice.
- There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible by blood transfusion, and our strict screening process means we don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood.
Here are some measures put in place:
The highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness are always followed in our donor centres and mobile blood drives. We also have extra measures in place to keep our staff and donors safe, including hand cleaning, sanitising and alcohol wipes to ensure our centres are safe for staff and donors.
All equipment used in the collection of blood is new, sterile and only used once.
We have introduced a four-week (28 day) travel deferral for any donor has returned from overseas.
- We have introduced a four-week deferral for any donor who has been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. This means that if you have been in contact with someone who has had, or is suspected to have had COVID-19, then you will be unable to donate for 28 days from last date of contact with this person.
- If you have had COVID-19 you must wait four weeks after you are free from all symptoms before you can give blood.
NZBS remains committed to the safety and wellbeing of our donors, staff and patients, and if there are any changes or new developments that may impact blood donations, we will let you know immediately. Our website and donor centres will be updated regularly with the latest information.
The need for blood is constant, so if you are eligible, fit and healthy please book an appointment to donate.
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