‘Be a hero and donate’: County officials call on COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma to save lives

August 2, 2020 /

Kern County, along with local medical experts, are calling on those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered to donate convalescent plasma.

Research has shown plasma donations can help reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients and time patients spend in the hospital, according to Brad Bryan, the CEO of Houchin Community Blood Bank. Plasma is rich in antibodies to help build up the immune system in someone who ha a serious or life-threatening COVID-19 infection, according to the County’s website.

“We have an obligation to do something to help,” Bryan said Thursday at a press conference. “If you are one of those individuals who have recovered…you have an obligation to your neighbor to come down to Houchin to donate your plasma and get people out of ICUs.”

Bryan said 130 people in Kern County have donated plasma, and their plasma saved the lives of abound 400 people. However, there is still a need.

Hospitals are short about 20 to 30 plasma treatments each day, according to Bryan.

“You have a weapon inside your body that can save lives,” he said.

The County is planning to launch a county-wide communications campaign that emphasizes plasma donations.

“During the pandemic, the need for convalescent plasma donations is essential for those who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19,” said Kern County’s Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop. “Your donation will save lives for those in our community critically impacted by COVID-19. Be a hero and donate.”

The County is also working on reaching out to Kern County residents who have recovered from COVID-19 to see if they are interested in donation plasma.

For those interested in donating, call the Houchin Community Blood Bank COVID-19 convalescent plasma hotline at (661) 616-2575. Individuals will need to provide proof of an initial positive COVID-19 test or positive antibody test, and must be free of all symptoms for at least 14 days.

Plasma from those with blood types AB and A is most sought after
You can donate convalescent plasma up to eight times in a three-month period.

Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.