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LifeSouth accepting plasma donations from recovering COVID-19 patients

Recovering COVID-19 patients can donate their plasma to help those currently fighting and suffering from the virus. 

LifeSouth Community Blood Center will host a blood and plasma drive at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Ellen Eisenbarth, who is helping plan the drive, said the need for blood is critical and the supply is severely low. 

“It’s unbelievably critical because so many places that blood is usually drawn from are college campuses and businesses,” Eisenbarth said. “They are now not able to have those blood drives right now because they are closed. All of those places that are prime donor areas are just not available right now.” 

LifeSouth announced the first draw of convalescent plasma on April 17 and will also be able to draw convalescent plasma at this blood drive. 

LifeSouth can be reached to schedule a plasma donation by calling (888) 795-2707 or email at medicaloffice@lifesouth.org. 

To schedule an appointment to donate plasma or blood, call (706) 957-1134 or use the link on the LifeSouth website. 

“Previous COVID-19 patients can give just plasma and not blood, which is what is needed for the antibodies,” Eisenbarth said. “Those antibodies are just like the flu shot. You have that time where you build an antibody and you’re able to fight off the attack of the virus. By giving the plasma, someone will be able to fight off the virus more effectively.”

Eisenbarth said since no one has ever been exposed to the virus before this time, there is no natural antibody to fight it off. 

“Using this post-recovery plasma gives you one more fighting tool in your box,” Eisenbarth said. “It will mitigate the effects of the virus.” 

Eisenbarth said that giving plasma can take close to an hour, so those looking to donate should schedule an appointment. She added that she hopes to have eight people donate the plasma. 

“The coronavirus has not stopped the need for blood for patients in our community,” Eisenbarth said. “Each unit donated is divided into plasma, platelets and red cells, so each donation affects the lives of three individuals. A tremendous impact is made on a patient’s life by just an hour spent donating blood. I have helped the LifeSouth staff at many blood drives and have always been impressed by the willingness of donors to give blood to help others. The lives of people whom they will never know and whose paths they will never cross are made better and allow these patients another day with their family. I always come away inspired.” 

Mark Ward, Blood Bank Supervisor at WellStar West Georgia Health,  said there is a critical need for O negative blood right now. All blood types are encouraged for the drive, but O negative is especially low and is needed the most. 

“Each day it is crucial that we have an adequate blood supply in our hospital, for a wide variety of needs: patients who are undergoing surgery or oncology procedures and especially for those who may be admitted to the emergency department following an accident,” Eisenbarth said. 

All the blood donated will stay local.