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Donors to receive free COVID-19 antibody testing at Upstate community blood drive

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Prisma Health to support its local blood supplier

GREENVILLE, SC—A month after the announcement of The Blood

Connection’s COVID-19 antibody testing program, Prisma Health and The Blood Connection (TBC) are partnering to host a large community blood drive at the Greenville Convention Center (1 Exposition Dr.). The blood drive is set for Friday, June 19, from 10 a.m.–6 p.m inside the convention center. Those who complete a blood donation at this drive will receive free COVID-19 antibody testing. For every donor, $10 will be donated to United Way of Greenville County and donors will also receive a $10 VISA card. Since TBC is the exclusive blood provider for every Upstate hospital, this collaboration will boost community collection efforts during this unprecedented time of social distancing and safety concerns.

“The Blood Connection is the Upstate community source for blood that is used to care for our patients. A single blood donation is divided into components that can help multiple patients with a variety of conditions. It is truly the ‘gift of life,’” said Jesse Stafford, MD, Chief Clinical Officer for Laboratory Services, Prisma Health.

TBC began offering COVID-19 antibody testing to all donors at no cost in May. The test, which will provide blood donors with a positive or negative result in seven business days, will be included in the normal panel of testing that is done to all complete blood donations. Donors do not need to opt in to this testing. TBC wants to ensure that all donors are aware that this is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19 infection. The FDA and the CDC have both said that a positive antibody test result does not prove the individual has immunity to the virus and that research of the antibodies is still being conducted.

All Upstate hospitals, including Prisma Health, exclusively receive their blood products from TBC. Those products help hundreds of local patients per year. The Greenville Convention Center was chosen because it allows for the recommended social distancing space between donors. TBC ensures that all donors are healthy through wellness screenings prior to their donation and the organization is taking extra precautionary measures to ensure donation sites are clean places to

donate blood. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, blood centers and hospitals are pleading for anyone who is feeling healthy to do their part and donate blood.

These special precautions will be taken during this drive to limit exposure and encourage social distancing:

  • Donor flow will be set up to limit interaction between donors if there is a wait.
  • All TBC staff will be wearing masks. Donors are encouraged to wear masks; however, they will not be provided.
  • Donor chairs will be spaced as far apart as possible.
  • Donors are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to control social distancing. Make an appointment by visiting TheBloodConnection.org/Donate-Blood or by calling 800-392-6551.

Signage will direct donors to the drive entrance and free parking will be available. Appointments are strongly recommended in order to control social distancing and limit interaction. Donors can find their antibody test results in their online donor portal (not on the TBC app) seven business days after donation. Donors can make an appointment at TheBloodConnection.org/Donate-Blood. To contact TBC, please call 800-392-6551.

TBC emphasizes these facts about donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19. Individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.
  • America’s Blood Centers and the FDA have both stated that a blood drive is not considered a mass gathering or an event, as donating blood is an “essential civic duty.”
  • TBC follows appropriate infection control standards of donor rooms and mobiles, which include sanitation of donor waiting rooms and donation chairs. TBC has increased decontamination of surfaces in centers and on blood mobiles.
  • The Blood Connection staff will complete a full health screening for all donors prior to donating blood. This includes a questionnaire (which includes travel questions), temperature check, and mini-physical.
  • Blood centers are not healthcare providers and thus do not provide COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

About The Blood Connection

The Blood Connection has been committed to saving lives since 1962. Founded in Greenville, South Carolina, TBC is an independently managed, not-for-profit, community blood center that provides blood products to more than 70 hospitals within Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Recognized by the U.S. Congress for its dedication to disaster preparedness and the community,

TBC works diligently to collect blood from volunteer donors to meet the ever-increasing demand. By keeping collections local, TBC serves hundreds of thousands of patients a year in its communities. TBC is licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information, visit TheBloodConnection.org.

About Prisma Health
Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,984 beds and more than 300 physician practice sites, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually. Its goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit PrismaHealth.org.

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