Plasma service centers find new ways to be efficient during the pandemic

BioLife in Eau Claire
BioLife in Eau Claire(weau)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 7:44 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Plasma donations are greatly needed right now. Plasma helps to create medication for thousands of people, and is now also being used for research surrounding COVID-19.

When you call BioLife you hear,

“Now, more than ever, your plasma is desperately needed to create medicines for people with chronic immune deficiencies. Choose to make a difference and donate now.”

Katy Gustafson, center manager at the Eau Claire BioLife plasma center says the center serves anywhere between 450 to 600 donors per day.

Still, there is a shortage.

“We always need more plasma we always need to make more medicines. Those medicines are running low because they are being used for a lot of different things,” said Gustafson.

One new purpose for plasma;

“We are looking for that convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 that is important.”

However, Gustafson says standard plasma donations are still critical.

When the pandemic began affecting Eau Claire, although donors were badly needed, BioLife in Eau Claire had to cut back on how many donors it was taking until they could figure out sufficient safety precautions.

“We’ve added some extra screening for our donors to make sure that it’s safe for everybody in that sense. We’ve added additional cleaning measures for pretty much every area in the center we of course are wearing masks and donors are required to wear masks as well.”

Gustafson says employees and donors are also encouraged to stay home if sick.

With the need being high, and with higher incentives currently being paid to donors for their plasma, Gustafson says she has noticed that appointment slots fill up quickly,

“We’re trying to find that balance of being able to handle the donor flow with the attendance struggles and the extra safety measures”

Because wait times can be higher for donors right now as the appointments can be longer, in the last week BioLife started asking donors to wait in their cars until their appointment time to make sure they stay distanced, and if you are even five minutes late, you would have to reschedule.

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