Spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide leads to emergency plasma shortage

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The American Red Cross has an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a potentially life-saving treatment for patients with COVID-19.

Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection.

The Red Cross has seen demand for convalescent plasma more than double over the last month as the number of coronavirus cases increases across the country.

Nationally, convalescent plasma products are now being distributed faster than donations are coming in.

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Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign up.

With each donation, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to help up to three patients recover from the virus.

"To donate blood and blood products is a great thing knowing that you can potentially save three lives," said Guy Triano, CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania American Red Cross. "To know that you suffered from COVID-19 and you're able to donate your plasma products to help somebody who is suffering from COVID-19 that's just a special incentive that you know that your blood is directly touching somebody almost immediately."

Since April, more than 20,000 patients nationwide have received lifesaving plasma products, 3,500 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey alone.

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All donation centers are by appointment only with masks worn by everyone and social distancing measures in place.

The American Red Cross is providing some incentives to donate including free Dunkin iced coffee and a donut. They are also offering a $5 Amazon gift card.

The Red Cross is always looking for healthy blood donors especially during the summer.
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