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Red Cross in southern Arizona sees need for convalescent plasma donations

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Posted at 9:23 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 09:54:10-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Red Cross is currently experiencing what they call an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma.

Experts say the convalescent plasma of COVID-19 survivors can potentially help those who are critically ill with COVID-19.

Dr. Rick Anderson, the Chief Medical Officer for the Tucson Medical Center, told KGUN9 that after many talks with ICU doctors at his hospital, one thing is clear.

“When I talk to the ICU doctors, the word I get from the physicians that work here currently, they feel that plasma does help," he said.

Jane Locke is one of many Tucsonans who contracted COVID-19 back in May. After a few days of battling a fever, a loss of smell and taste, and fatigue, Locke says she made a full recovery.

It was some time after that she decided to donate her convalescent plasma, hoping it'd be of some use to researchers. What Locke didn't know at the time is it'd be used to help those critically ill with COVID-19.

“I had no idea the impact was that great," she said.

Courtney Slanaker, the Executive Director for the Red Cross Southern Arizona chapter, told KGUN9 there have been more than 250 units of convalescent plasma donated.

Slanaker said these convalescent plasma units go to local hospitals most in need.

“When someone donates here, once that local need is met that product, whether it’s convalescent plasma, whether its platelets is gonna go where it’s needed most," she said.

As for Jane Locke, now that she knows how helpful convalescent plasma can be for those suffering from COVID-19 she said she's going to encourage other survivors to donate.

"Everyone should be doing it, the word should get out. It’s a simple process," she said.