Sat | Jul 11, 2020

Blood Bank rejecting donors from quarantine zones

Published:Thursday | April 30, 2020 | 12:25 AMDanae Hyman/Staff Reporter

Residents of COVID-19 quarantine zones are barred from donating blood until the state-imposed restriction is lifted, the Blood Bank has said.

Director of the Blood Bank, Dr Alisha Tucker, says that although there has been no suspected or reported case of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19 to date, the National Blood Transfusion Service has taken a policy decision to reject donations from quarantine zones like St Catherine.

The St Catherine lockdown is due to expire on Friday morning.

“While we understand that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, and we must consider the safety of the nation’s blood supply and balance that with the demand for blood at this time, it is not only about the blood-donation process, but also about safeguarding our staff and the facility,” Tucker told The Gleaner.

The Government has quarantined sections of Jamaica based on the number of cases and the likelihood of spread. Bull Bay in St Andrew, Corn Piece Settlement in Clarendon, and the parish of St Catherine have been quarantined since the emergence of the new coronavirus in Jamaica on March 10.

Tucker said that the Blood Bank is currently accepting blood from Bull Bay and Corn Piece since the quarantines have expired.

One patient admitted to The University Hospital of the West Indies disclosed that her mother, a resident of St Catherine, was turned away yesterday when she showed up at the hospital to donate blood.

The patient, who suffers from a rare case of anaemia and also resides in St Catherine, said that while she needs the blood transfusion to survive, she understands the precautionary measures.

“At the end of the day, you don’t know who has COVID-19, and I wouldn’t want get blood and it in it because a straight death that,” the patient, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Gleaner.