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Convalescent plasma donations needed as hospitals brace for higher case numbers

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Leading up to Thanksgiving, health experts warned people not to travel or gather with friends, but not everyone followed that advice. Now that those gatherings have come to an end, the waiting game is on.

“I think the experience around the country and actually around the world, is that large events particularly indoors is a large concern,” said Dr. Joshua Wynne, North Dakota’s Chief Health Strategist.

Dr. Wynne says it can take as long as two weeks for people to show symptoms of coronavirus after they contract it, and it may be a few weeks after that before we will really see how the family dinners over Thanksgiving will affect case numbers here in the state.

“Realistically it’s going to be into December,” added Dr. Wynne.

The month of December will also usher in Christmas, another holiday expected to bring traveling and big gatherings, despite a global pandemic.

“We may see a surge upon a surge,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A surge that many hospitals aren’t ready for. While many wait for the arrival of a vaccine, one thing that’s helping COVID-19 patients recover now is becoming scarce.

“There is a need for it. There is a high need for it,” said Teresa Johnson, Blood Donor Recruiter for Vitalant.

Johnson is talking about convalescent plasma. She says the demand for the plasma, used in COVID-19 treatment, is starting to outweigh the supply.

Johnson added, “As those numbers do adjust I do feel that we will probably have an increase for convalescent plasma across the state.”

If you have recovered from COVID-19, the plasma in your blood has antibodies. Those antibodies can be transfused to a patient in the hospital fighting the virus and help them recover more quickly. Dr. Wynne says all there is to do now is wait, and hope people make plans for a safe Christmas.

Johnson says they are seeing about two to three convalescent plasma donors a day.

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and would like to donate, you can reach out to your local blood bank. Click the links below:

Bismarck

Minot

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