BLOOD DONATIONS AND THE CORONAVIRUS

Are you a blood donor and do you have questions regarding the coronavirus, self-isolation, the lockdown and the precautions to be observed? Below, we answer all your questions.

MOST OF THE COLLECTIONS ARE GOING AHEAD UNCHANGED

Leaving your house to go and donate blood ranks as authorised travel. You can download our model sworn statement (see question "Am I allowed to donate blood during the lockdown?").

THE COLLECTIONS ARE SAFE

We are putting extra safety measures in place (see question 2). So please do not stop coming out to donate blood. We need your blood, now more than ever!

I have been INFECTED WITH THE COVID 19 VIRUS

You are allowed to donate blood subject to certain conditions (see question "Am I allowed to donate blood if I’ve been infected with the coronavirus?").

WILL I BE SCREENED?

We are not screening for the coronavirus. There are no known cases whereby a respiratory infection is transmitted through the blood. Meanwhile, we are taking part in a study aimed at investigating the spread of the disease among the population at large (see below).

  • I received an invitation to attend my regular collection. Is my collection going ahead?

     

    If you usually donate at a permanent blood collection centre, from now on you will need to make an appointment by telephone during the centre’s opening hours (consult the contact details).
    If you usually donate at a mobile collection point, there is no need to make a prior appointment: come in at any time at the collection location. However, we strongly recommend that you check our Collection Rounds agenda to find out if your collection is going ahead.

     

  • Are the blood collections safe?

     

    Yes. In addition to the hygiene measures which are part and parcel of our normal procedures anyway, we have implemented specific additional  measures

    -    Observance of the social distancing rule of at least 1.5 metres
    -    Disinfection of small equipment and surfaces (tables, door handles, etc.)
    -    Compulsory hand washing for all people present 
    -    Staff required to wear masks and gloves

    Outside the collection location, posters have been put up reiterating these precautionary measures 


     

  • Do I have to wear a mask?

     

    Yes. Face masks are recommended and will become mandatory, starting on May 4th. in order to ensure maximal safety for the health of donors and staff members. You should, preferably, use your own mask. If you don't have one, we will provide you with a single use mask

    Don't forget to respect physical distances and to apply barrier gestures such as handwashing. Those measures remain a priority in the battle against the pandemic.

     

  • I think I may be at greater risk of complications because of the coronavirus. Can I come out to donate blood?

     

    If you believe you may be more susceptible to the coronavirus (e.g. if you are aged above 65, have chronic respiratory problems, asthma, etc.), the national recommendations are for you to self-isolate (stay at home) during the lockdown. For this reason, we would advise against you coming out to make your way to a collection to donate blood for now. 

     

  • Am I allowed to donate blood during the lockdown?

     

    Yes. Travel undertaken for this purpose is considered as essential
    If you like, you can download our model sworn statement and fill it in.

    During your interview at the collection location, you can ask for a certificate stating that you attended the collection, which you can show the Police in case you are stopped on the way home.

     

  • Will I be screened for the coronavirus?

     

    No. We do not screen for the coronavirus. There are no known cases whereby a respiratory infection is transmitted through the blood. We do not perform screening tests by taking swabs.

     

  • What I should look out for before coming out to the collection location?

     

    In addition to the usual contraindications, new contraindications have come to light that are specific to the coronavirus.

    Do not come out to the collection location / a blood donation centre and wait for 28 days if: 

    •    You have been diagnosed as COVID 19-positive. The 28-day period starts after the symptoms have disappeared and/or the treatment has ended.

    •    If you have one or several of the following symptoms:

    - Fever > 38°c
    - Difficulty breathing 
    - Aggravated chronic respiratory problems
    - Dry cough 
    - Loss of taste and/or smell 

    •    If you have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed as being infected with the COVID 19 virus

    - Any of the persons you live with
    - Home environment
    - Physical contact as part of the delivery of care involving aerosol-generating procedures

    •    Wait 14 days if you have one or several of the following symptoms:

    - infection of the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts (common cold, sore throat, sinus infection, ear infection, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, etc.), 
    - flu-like symptoms (aches, shivers, muscle and joint pain, headaches), 
    - acute gastroenteritis.

     

  • Is the Service du Sang struggling?

     

    However, we only have a partial picture of how the situation may develop over the weeks to come. Some of our travelling collection rounds may need to be cancelled, there is the amount of blood and blood products used at the hospitals, the duration of the lockdown, etc. Which is why we still need you to come out over the weeks ahead, regardless of your blood group. For this reason, we are asking you not to postpone you donation.

     

  • Am I allowed to donate blood if I’ve been infected with the coronavirus?

     

    Yes, but only from 28 days after all the symptoms have disappeared and/or from 28 days after your treatment has ended.

     

  • I heard you are looking for plasma donors for a therapy for the coronavirus. How can I help?

     

    The plasma from patients who have recovered from the COVID virus carries antibodies, which could well prove to be a rewarding therapeutic alternative for treating patients who are still fighting the disease. However, this opportunity is currently still being investigated.

    Against this background, and in cooperation with various hospitals, the Belgian Red Cross has started to collect plasma from donors who have recovered from the coronavirus.

    You have been infected with COVID 19 and have totally recovered ?

    You made a test confirming that you were infected and are ready to give your plasma to help patients still infected by the COVID 19 ?

    Please contact 081 58 59 88 or go on www.PlasmaCovid19.be.

     

  • I have donated blood, plasma or platelets less than a week ago and I’m not feeling very well. What should I do?

     

    If you feel you have any symptoms (even symptoms that are not related to the COVID 19 virus), or a piece of information which you did not or forgot to tell the doctor, please immediately call the “post-donation” phone number you were given at the time of your donation. The duty doctor taking your call will assess the situation, advise you on what to do and, if necessary, have the blood bag in question destroyed.

     

  • I’m unable to donate blood but I would like to support the Red Cross teams. How do I go about this?

     

    You can become a Red Cross volunteer.

    Your moral support means a lot and is every bit as welcome! Send us your messages, drawings, photos or videos at info@croix-rouge.be and we distribute them around among our staff. With your permission, we will publish some messages on our Facebook page as to encourage other expressions of support. 

     

  • I have other questions that are not addressed on this page.

     

    You can call us at 0800 92 245 from Monday to Friday, from 08:30 to 16:30, or send us an e-mail at info@croix-rouge.be or visit our Facebook page

     

Look after yourself and the people around you

A big thank you to all donors and all members of staff at the SFS for their efforts in the face of the current crisis!

The Blood Service will be working closely with Sciensano to work up a map of the spread of the COVID 19 epidemic among the population at large. 
Please find further information on this topic in this article and on their website.