FAQ:Get answers to questions about COVID-19 and Blood DonationLearn More

COVID-19 and Blood Donation

The New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and continues to carry out our lifesaving mission in our communities.  

To ensure we are prepared to support health agencies in our communities and across the country, NYBCe strongly urges individuals who feel healthy and well to make an appointment at a donor center or blood drive to give blood, platelets and plasma. 

Safety Protocols

NYBCe is committed to the safety of our donors, volunteers, employees and blood recipients, and to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency.

There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion. In fact, there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmission for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus.  

It is safe to donate blood, and we encourage healthy individuals to donate so that blood is available for those patients who need. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations. Our staff are also practicing health self-assessments prior to presenting at work.

NYBCe only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements. 

To protect our staff and donors, NYBCe is asking donors to self-screen before coming in to donate. Please do not present to donate if you have:

  • a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing)
  • had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after your illness has resolved

If you are unsure whether to donate, or if you have donated recently and you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you test positive for COVID-19, please contact us at 1.800.688.0900.

Please be aware that we do NOT test for COVID-19. You should contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.

If you are feeling healthy and well and meet general eligibility guidelines, please schedule your donation now to help ensure a stable blood supply amid coronavirus concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does NYBCe determine if people are eligible to donate blood?

    We ask if you are feeling well and healthy on the day of donation. Our health questionnaire and laboratory screening are designed to identify donors who may be at risk for transfusion transmitted infections.

  • Can I donate blood if I’ve traveled recently?

    We currently ask each donor about recent travel to regions where there is a higher risk for transfusion transmitted infections such as malaria and CJD. FDA has not established this same kind of requirement for the Corona virus since it is not known to be transmitted by blood. However, individuals who are told by public health officials to self-quarantine due to travel related  coronavirus exposure should not donate blood while they are in quarantine status. This is for the protection of our staff and other blood donors.

  • What measures are being taken to make sure donor centers are virus-free?

    We ask blood donors and our own staff to stay home if they are not feeling well. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations.

  • What is NYBCe doing in response to Coronavirus?

    We are actively monitoring the situation along with our local partners and will follow the most up to date guidance from the CDC and City and State Departments of Health as the situation evolves. We take the health of our donors and staff very seriously and always follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of infection.

  • Can I catch Coronavirus by donating blood?

    No. Donating blood is safe. We always use new, sterile needles that are discarded after use.

  • Can I donate blood while I’m sick?

    No, as always, you are not eligible to donate if you’re experiencing a fever, cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.

  • Do you test blood before it goes to recipients?

    All donated blood, even donations from repeat donors, is tested for blood type, hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other transfusion transmissible diseases.

    We do NOT test for COVID-19. Please contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.

  • Can you catch Coronavirus from a blood transfusion?

    There is no evidence that coronaviruses are transmitted by blood transfusion. Furthermore, pre-donation screening procedures are designed to prevent donations from people who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illnesses.

  • Why is it important to donate now?

    It’s important for everyone to donate today so that we can build up a strong blood supply. Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because it’s perishable and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf now is the blood that will save lives if there’s an emergency.

  • Will we run out of blood?

    If future blood drives are cancelled, our community’s blood supply will drop. We need to build up our reserves now so that we have enough blood available to withstand any temporary shortages and help those in need. 

  • What can I do to protect myself from Coronavirus?

    Standard practices for cold and flu season are the best way to keep our community healthy. This includes staying home when you’re sick, frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with your elbow, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or face after touching public surfaces. Visit this link for videos and reminders on proper hand hygiene.

  • Can I bring my kids with me to the donor centers when I donate?

    Normally, we welcome children that come with their parents, but as we are trying to manage donor spacing, please leave your children at home.

  • Are face masks being worn by donors and donor center staff?

    There has been a lot of information in the news about face masks, and it is important to understand face masks are not recommended by the CDC for general use. The best uses for face masks, as identified by CDC, are for those who are already sick in order to avoid spreading to others and by health workers and caregivers who are taking care of someone who is ill in a close setting.  Non respirator masks do not provide full protection against respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, as they do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales. Please know we are concerned that our staff would have a false sense of safety and security if they were required to wear face masks, however we do not want to prohibit them. With limited supplies nation-wide, it’s also important that we be careful in our use so that masks are available to hospitals and infected patients, where they are needed most.

    Our Collection staff are working with donors who are presenting to donate blood and blood products, a normally healthy population. Based on CDC recommendations, face masks should not be worn when working under these conditions in hope of preventing transmission of COVID-19.  We do provide face masks for staff who perform the donor prescreen process, but it is not mandatory to wear them. Based on CDC recommendations we are not providing face masks for the remainder of staff, however we will not prohibit their use and some staff have opted to use their own masks during the collection process. This is why you may see some staff with and without masks.

    NYBCe only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements.

    To protect our staff and donors, NYBCe is asking donors to self-screen before coming in to donate. Please do not present to donate if you have:

    • a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing)
    • had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days
    • been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after your illness has resolved

    If you are unsure whether to donate, or if you have donated recently and you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you test positive for COVID-19, please contact us at 1.800.688.0900.

  • I have recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate plasma. What should I do?

    If you have recovered from COVID-19 and wish to donate plasma, please contact one of the hospitals below:

    Please note we DO NOT accept convalescent donor appointments on this site. You MUST contact one of the hospitals listed above. All other donation types can be booked using this portal.

    Please be aware that we do NOT test for COVID-19. You should contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.

    Thank you for your willingness to donate!

Make an Appointment

To support the critical need for blood, platelets and plasma, we have extended our donor center operating hours until further notice. Find a convenient donor center near you!

When you present to donate at your local donor center, if you are concerned about waiting for your appointment inside and would prefer to wait outside or in your vehicle, please see our staff and we can take your cell phone number and call or text you when we are ready to see you. 

Download your donor letter outlining the permission for you to travel to a donor center to give blood, platelets and plasma during this time.

MAKE APPOINTMENT NOW