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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hoxworth Blood Center Adjusts To COVID, Vaccines, Holidays

hoxworth blood center
Sarah Ramsey

Through the pandemic, Hoxworth has been accepting plasma donations from recovered COVID patients to help others. The procedure uses antibodies to help those who are still suffering from the disease.

Hoxworth spokeswoman Alecia Lipton says when they started collecting convalescent plasma, 200 people volunteered.

"As the year continued, and we saw more and more people in the Tri-State being diagnosed, then we have seen the number of people wanting to donate convalescent plasma grow."

Hoxworth Blood Center has sent about 3,400 units of convalescent plasma to hospitals this year. Lipton says so far, people have donated 3,800 units.

She says some people who first started giving plasma in April still have antibodies and are still donating. Others were only able to donate twice after recovering from COVID.

"With the recent surge that we've had in cases, following Thanksgiving, we've had more and more people who are eligible to donate plasma," she says.

Lipton says whether you have antibodies or not, people can still give blood, post-COVID. She says as long as it's been two weeks without symptoms.

Two companies are producing coronavirus vaccines, and health officials say next year, everyone who wants one will eventually be able to get the shot. Lipton says the vaccine won't interfere with blood donations. "You can actually donate blood one day following your vaccine," she says. "At first we weren't really sure. We thought it might be a three month deferral, or a one month deferral. But the decision has been handed down that it's just one day."

Lipton says the holidays typically mean a decrease in donations and an increase in demand. "We need to have at least 400 donors through the door, every day," she says. "When we have a day off like Christmas Day, when we're not collecting, we need to find ways to increase donations leading up to that day and after."

Lipton says the holidays interrupt the routines of regular donors. She says all seven of their donor centers will be open New Year's Eve, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  You can make an appointment by calling 513-451-0910, or online at Hoxworth.org.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.