Coronavirus: No risk in donating blood – NBTS Director

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Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTFS), Dr Pedro Lewis, is encouraging persons to donate blood despite the ongoing precautions as a result of the novel coronavirus.

Dr Pedro explained that it is still safe to donate as the blood bank has screening measures in place. He made it clear that there is currently no evidence to show that persons can contract COVID-19 via a blood transfusion or donation.

“There is no evidence to show that a person donating blood could contract this particular virus. We will take precautionary measures to eliminate person to person transmission,” the Director told the News Room Monday.

As of March 23, Guyana still has five confirmed cases, with one death, and the compound of the Georgetown Public Hospital, which houses the Blood Bank, is screening persons for the virus prior to entering.

Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTFS), Dr Pedro Lewis

Dr Pedro further clarified, “a lot of persons have been calling [and] saying blood donation will reduce their immune system…but no there is no evidence that points that you can get it through blood donation and there is evidence you can get it through transfusion.”

“We need you now more than ever because we still have pregnant women, still have patients who need surgery and that would not ease.  So we encourage persons to come and donate at the blood bank, there is no risk involved.”

While the current stock of reserves is not at a precarious level at the Blood Bank or Private Hospitals, Dr Pedro indicated that it is imperative they restock.

He urged persons to also access their regional sites in Suddie Hospital, West Demerara Hospital, New Amsterdam Blood Bank and in Linden.

Safeguard Against COVID 19

Another notable word of advice from Dr Pedro was for Guyanese to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Public Health, regarding the fight against COVID-19.

“It is important we follow the guidelines because a case of a huge outbreak in Guyana, I think it is very difficult for us to manage such outbreak because of the amount of ICU [Intensive Care Unit] beds. So we are asking persons, please follow the guidelines; avoid crowds, parties and wash your hands which is very important.”

He added, “the thing about this disease is that most persons are symptomatic. It might not affect a young person but you might have elderly persons at home and that’s where it becomes deadly. Think about others, do not only think about yourselves.”

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