Critical donations trending down amid pandemic

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Blood and plasma. That’s what been collected in numbers as communities came together when this pandemic began. As we reach one of the busiest times for critical donations, the numbers are trending down.

“Things have taken a rapid turn in the last several months,” said Miller-Keystone Blood Center account manager Kathy Rowinski. “When COVID-19 first hit, everybody from the president to the surgeon general to governor wolf we’re asking people to come out and donate blood and people came out in phenomenal numbers. People were so kind and so generous.”

Staring down a fall resurgence, those donations have helped with theraputic uses.

“We’ve treated a lot of our patients with convalescent plasma guidance or some something over 20% of our hospitalized patients,” noted assistant director of transfusion services for Geisinger, Dr. Gustaaf de Ridder.

On top of treatments, with emergency use authorization from the FDA, convalescent plasma has been stockpiled and even sent to parts of the country in more need than Pennsylvania. Worries starting to build up about lowering numbers of whole blood and plasma, on hand.

Miller-Keystone, primarily confined to their brick and mortar locations, has been losing out on drives in closed schools and churches. The demand for lifesaving donations still there and the medical community still putting safety first.

“Well certainly there are asymptomatic COVID-19 patients between screening out people who feel sick, and then using disposable equipment and disinfecting all the surfaces,” added de Ridder. “I think there really should feel okay going into any of these environments to donate blood.”

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