Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At the Welsh Blood Service, we take great care to ensure the safety of our blood supply and the health and well-being of our donors and patients during the current COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the optimal safety of our patients and donors.

The Welsh Blood Service are closely monitoring all developments in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak and are regularly putting measures in place to maintain blood supply safety which are outlined in the questions and answers section below:

Booking an appointment:
Can I donate?
Can I still donate if I am 70 or over due to the coronavirus situation?
Can I donate if I have received a letter from NHS Wales or been advised to comply with stringent social distancing due to being a member of a vulnerable health group?
Can I donate if I live in a household with a person classes as belonging to a vulnerable group?
Are you going to reduce the donation intervals for donation?
Will I be turned away from session if I try to donate?
Will you let me know when I can book appointments again?

Our donation sessions:
Do I have to wear a face mask?
Is it OK to wear disposable gloves at a donation clinic?
Will my donation session go ahead?
Are your donation clinic environments safe?
What about social distancing on session?
Can I bring someone (adults or children) with me when I’m donating?
What time should I come now? Why was I asked to wait outside before coming into the session?

Coronavirus (Covid-19):
Do you test for coronavirus?
Can my blood donation pass on COVID-19?
Am I more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 if I have given blood?
What is COVID-19?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
What do I do if I have been to an affected area or in contact with a case of COVID-19 and have these symptoms?
What can I do to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?


Your questions answered

Can I Donate?

If you have been tested and diagnosed with COVID-19 due to a positive test result, you can donate when at least 28 days have passed following your recovery of symptoms. You may be left with a dry cough, but as long as you feel well, you can then donate.
If you have had symptoms of Covid-19 but have not had a test, you can donate when at least 28 days have passed following your recovery of symptoms

If you have been in self-isolation because of possible symptoms or because of contact with someone who is unwell, you cannot donate until:

  • 14 days from the first day of isolation if you remain symptom free.
  • 28 days following from resolution of any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 you may have developed whilst in self-isolation. If you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is showing symptoms suggestive of the disease, BUT you have not been advised to self-isolate, you can continue to donate as long as you are well.

In all instances, if you donate, it is important that you report any illnesses that you develop in the 14 days post donation.

Travel to blood donation sessions is essential.

 


Do I have to wear a face mask?

The World Health Organisation have updated their guidance on face coverings, advising that they should be considered in settings where maintaining social distancing is difficult and this advice has been followed through by Welsh Government.

Whilst all our clinics have full social distancing measures in place we understand you may still feel more comfortable wearing the recommended three layered face covering or mask. If you make this decision we would ask that you bring and wear your own face covering if you have one.

However, to ensure we are able to provide the highest levels of monitoring and care for our donors we will ask you to remove your face covering once you enter one of our screening booths and then for the rest of your donation journey. Wearing a face covering will hide the signs that indicate to staff that a donor is about to faint and possibly injure themselves. It is essential that our staff can see donors’ faces so they can intervene at the earliest opportunity if a donor is about to faint.

If a donor does not want to wear a face covering, we will equally respect that decision – as per government guidelines, this is a personal choice.

We are awaiting further guidance from Welsh Government and Public Health Wales and will update this response as/if/when required.

 


Is it OK to wear disposable gloves at a donation clinic?

Donors who attend wearing disposable gloves will be asked to remove them at triage prior to entering the clinic. They will also need to wash their hands or use the hand sanitiser at that point.

 


Can I donate if I have received a letter from NHS Wales or been advised to comply with stringent social distancing due to being a member of a vulnerable health group?

WBS would advise you not to donate at this time if this applies to you.

 


Can I donate if I live in a household with a person classed as belonging to a vulnerable group?

If you are fully self-isolating as a household due to a person in the household being in a vulnerable group then please do not attend.  If you are not attending please cancel your appointment if you have one.

 


Do you test for coronavirus?

WBS do not test for SARS-CoV-2 routinely. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses. At present, there is no evidence of any type of coronavirus being transmitted through blood donation or transfusion.

 


Can my blood donation pass on COVID-19?

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible by blood transfusion, and our strict screening process means we don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood.

 


Am I more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 if I have given blood?

No. We don’t take enough blood to compromise your immune system and as long as you are fit and healthy when you donate you are not at any additional risk.

 


Will my donation session go ahead?

Currently our blood donation clinics continue to operate as usual.

We are constantly evaluating the situation here in Wales and are keeping up-to-date with the latest advice and guidance on the coronavirus outbreak. We are also in regular contact with all our clinic host venues, Public Health Wales and Welsh Government colleagues to ensure we can continue to safely collect our blood donations across Wales.

If we have to cancel a clinic you will receive a direct message from us informing you it has been cancelled via your chosen communication preferences.

 


Are you donation clinics environments safe?

We follow strict guidelines and controls to reduce the risk of any infections being contracted at our clinics; this includes strict screening processes that ensures donors are fit and healthy before they make a donation.

All donors are pre-screened before they enter the clinic in a separate triage area.

In addition to the usual health and safety precautions for our staff and donors (which include using sterile collection sets for every donation and preparing the arm with an aseptic cleanser), spacing between donor seats and seats at the recovery tea table has been increased to comply with Public Health Wales guidance, our teams follow strict hygiene protocols when cleaning equipment and with the wearing of PPE (face masks, aprons and eye protection) and with the regular use of hand sanitiser gel.

 


What about social distancing on session?

At the Welsh Blood Service the wider safety of our donors, recipients and staff is of paramount importance.

From the point you arrive at clinic we have social distancing provisions in place. These include 2m markers when you are waiting to be triaged, 2m spacing of chairs you sit on to complete your questionnaire, donation chairs are spaced at least 2m apart as are chairs at our post donation recovery tea tables.

 


Can I bring someone (adults or children) with me when I’m donating?

For safety reasons, during Covid-19 we’re asking that only those giving blood enter the donation session. If this poses you with an issue please contact our Donor Contact Centre in advance of your appointment to discuss.

 


What time should I come now? Why was I asked to wait outside before coming into the session?

We’re asking blood donors to only come into the session at their appointment time, to help maintain social distancing during triaging and then inside the venue. This will reduce any queuing and help protect everyone’s health. If people arrive early, our teams may ask them to wait nearby – for example in their car – in order for them to come into the session at the best time. The situation has been changing quickly and we’re asking people to be patient and respectful of each other and our blood donation teams, to help us best support the wider NHS.

 


Are you going to reduce the donation intervals for donation?

Our current donation intervals still stand for donation as this will allow time for the body to restore iron levels, haemoglobin levels and red blood cell levels.

 


Donors over 70

Can I still donate if I am 70 or over due to the coronavirus situation?

Following government guidelines we have temporarily stopped all donors who are 70 years or over from donating. During this time we would ask you not to book any appointments and not to attend donor sessions. At the end of this temporary deferral period we will contact you with new advice based upon the government guidelines at the time. We know this will be frustrating for many donors but it is for your protection.

 


Will I be turned away from session if I try to donate?

If you turn up to a donor centre or session to give blood we will ask you to return home.

 


Will you let me know when I can book appointments again?

We will be very glad to see you and for you to donate again once Government advice indicates that it is safe to do so. We will certainly advise you when this happens.

 

 


What is COVID-19?

Covid-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. Coronavirus are a group of viral diseases that can cause coughing, fever, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. It can be more severe in older people, those with weakened immune systems and some long-term conditions like diabetes or cancer.

 


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral disease that can cause symptoms such as:

  • cough
  • fever
  • loss, or change in sense of smell and/or taste
  • Shortness of Breath / difficulty breathing

If you are concerned regarding the symptoms of COVID-19 or would like more information NHS Direct Wales have developed an automated online symptom checker suitable for anyone living in Wales and can be used for people of all ages. It can be accessed by clicking here.

 


What do I do if I have been to an affected area or in contact with a case of COVID-19 and have these symptoms?

To view the latest guidance and self-isolation advice from Public Health Wales click here.

 


What can I do to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?

Do
Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser for at least 20 seconds:

  • After breaks and sports activities.
  • Before cooking and eating.
  • On arrival at any childcare or educational setting.
  • After using the toilet
  • Before leaving home.

If you need to cough or sneeze:

  • Catch it with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Bin it. Put used tissue in the bin straight away.
  • Kill it. By washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser.

Stop germs spreading by using the e-Bug resources on hand and respiratory hygiene available here.

Don’t
Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Do not share items that come into contact with your mouth such as cups and bottles.

If unwell do not share items such as bedding, dishes, pencils and towels.