Frequently Asked Questions About Donating Blood

How is City of Hope’s current blood product supply?
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The City of Hope Blood Donor Center continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our blood supply as well as those of other suppliers. As the situation is evolving, there have been fewer donors and more canceled blood drives, resulting in less blood available for our patients. In the coming days we anticipate an even greater impact to the blood supply. Consequently, it has become even more important that donors continue to donate blood.

Am I at risk of exposure to COVID-19 if I donate?
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Blood collection drives are not mass gatherings and individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion.

Can the coronavirus be spread through a blood transfusion?
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The Food and Drug Administration has found no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 or other coronaviruses through blood transfusion.

Is our blood supply safe?
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Yes. Before any donation can be used, it is tested for viruses that can be transmitted through the blood, including HIV, hepatitis B and C, West Nile virus, and human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV), as well as for bacterial infections.

Are blood donors screened for COVID-19?
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Everyone entering the City of Hope Blood Donor Center is screened for fever, symptoms and exposure to the COVID-19 virus. At registration they again are asked about COVID-19 exposure, and shortly prior to donation, the donor room nurses do another screening for fever and symptoms.

What other safety precautions is the Blood Donor Center taking?
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In the waiting room, there is 6 feet of space between each chair. Every surface — including the pens used by donors and the brochure folders — is disinfected after each use. Members of the staff are masked, wear safety coats and, except for the screening and blood draw itself, a minimum 6-foot distance between people is always maintained.

Have blood donation rules changed?
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Yes. The Food and Drug Administration has relaxed some of its blood donation rules to widen the pool of potential donors during this critical time. More information can be found on their website.

How can I schedule an appointment to donate?
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The Blood Donor Center is open for donations Monday through Saturday, and the second Sunday of every month — but for safety’s sake, they’re asking donors not to show up without an appointment, which you can make at idonateblood4hope.org or by calling 626-218-7171.

When is the Blood Donor Center open for appointments?
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Below are the hours of operation:

  • Monday to Tuesday
    9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday to Saturday
    7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Second Sunday of the month
    7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Are you still doing community blood drives?
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Community blood drives haven been severely curtailed. Bloodmobiles, a mainstay of the drives, can no longer be deployed because they aren’t big enough to maintain social distancing. And schools, which had been a huge source of donors, are now closed. Hundreds of blood-drive commitments were canceled, and an enormous number of expected donations were lost. We are reaching out to the schools and organizations that had been hosting blood drives and asking them to find new community locations that would work.

Can I help arrange a blood drive?
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If your company or organization would like to host a blood drive, the first step is finding the right venue. In order to maintain adequate social distancing, you’ll need at least 2,000 square feet of cleared area, either a single, large room or a combination of rooms. It should be well ventilated with good temperature regulation and have sufficient lighting and electrical outlets, as well as clean, functioning restrooms.

 

When you have a location that meets these requirements and are ready to begin setting up your drive, contact Cynthia Rochin, crochin@coh.org626-658-1978, or Cheryl Gonzales, chegonzales@coh.org. They’ll help you create a successful blood drive that can save lives.