As Poland and the world shut down in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, healthcare professionals have another problem to worry about: a lack of blood donations.
In Poland, major donation centers visits have fallen significantly in recent days. For example, TVN24 reports that a blood bank in Łódź once regularly had 200 donors per day and now receives just 50. Negative blood groups are especially in demand.
The challenge is so great that it has contributed to a decision by the NFZ, Poland’s national health service, to limit procedures requiring blood transfusions.
For their part, blood donation centers are doing everything they can to limit the possibility of donors coming into contact with coronavirus or infecting others. (There is no evidence so far that the disease can spread through blood.) Donors stand far apart from each other in the queues and take short questionnaires before entering, then are examined before donating blood to minimize the risk that they could be bringing infections in. All center workers have masks, gloves, and sanitizer.
If you feel healthy and have not come into contact with anyone carrying coronavirus over the past two weeks, you can donate blood at any of several points in Krakow. You must give your PESEL number and a photo ID, or your passport and a secondary photo ID. Drink lots of fluids, sleep well, and eat a light meal the day before.