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San Antonio faces blood shortage as COVID-19 pandemic continues

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – There’s a blood shortage in the San Antonio area as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Currently, we have about a two-day supply of blood,” said Elizabeth Waltman, COO of the South Texas Regional Blood and Tissue Center.

The coronavirus shutdown has slashed blood donations. Schools, churches, businesses and organizations that usually help roundup donors have been unable to conduct blood drives for the last two months. The demand for blood usually rises during the Memorial Day weekend, and non-emergency surgeries that were postponed when the Stay Home, Work Safe orders were implemented in mid-March are taking place now.

“Those folks are now scheduled and they’re going through the process, and they’re using quite a bit of blood,” Waltman said Sunday evening at the daily COVID-19 briefing

She announced a blood drive Thursday-Saturday at the Alamodome. As an incentive, each donor will receive a $10 H-E-B gift card. If you’d like to donate blood, you can call the South Tecas Blood and Tissue Center to make an appointment

Mayor Ron Nirenberg also urged people who have recovered from the novel coronavirus to donate their antibody-rich plasma, which can be used to help Patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19.

Paul Basaldua has donated plasma for the experimental  treatment, which is being used on patients here in San Antonio with positive results.

“The first three people in San Antonio who received (convalescent) plasma were in really bad situations on ventilators and with life-threatening cases, and all of them were out of the hospital within two weeks of receiving the plasma,” said Basaldua. “On a personal note, I’ll say that there are few things more rewarding than knowing that you can help a fellow member of your community.”

More than 1,000 area residents who contracted COVID-19 have recovered.

Nirenberg says the city is in good shape when it comes to hospital availability in the wake of the pandemic.

Seventy COVID-19 patients are in hospitals and 16 are on ventilators. That leaves 78 percent of ventilators available.

“When we talk about flattening the curve, it’s about our ability, our capacity to treat folks who are ill from COVID-19,” said Nirenberg.

The number of COVID-19 cases for Saturday and Sunday will be released Monday evening. The San Antonio Metro Health Sara team had the weekend off.

 

 


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