Red Cross changes as they continue to respond to disasters during pandemic


ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — Whether it’s a natural disaster or a fire, the American Red Cross said it is always there to help. During this pandemic the organization continues to do so and fulfill its mission, but with some changes.

The Red Cross is using technologies like Facetime or Zoom to make that initial contact with those who need assistance. Those who feel they’re safe and healthy will respond on scene while practicing social distancing. Other changes could possibly be people who are displaced will now go to hotel rooms rather than shelters. The Red Cross said it has constant communication with county officials during this health crisis.

“We can assure people that, not only we’re still going to respond, the Red Cross is still going to be there to provide those immediate emergency needs for the community. We’re going to do it as safely as possible,” Jay Bonafede, chief communications officer said. “We’re working with public officials to determine what that is, taking screening steps, health screenings to ensure that if it is a congregate shelter, we have to do that, that it’s done safely as possible, that our staff and volunteers and workforce are as healthy as possible and screened them as well before they go to any scene.” 

People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 may be eligible to help those currently sick. It’s the latest program by the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross said antibody plasma in fully recovered patients can attack the virus. The plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. People must meet specific plasma eligibility requirements. 

“We’re teaming up with the FDSA to support the collection and the distribution of what we call convalescent plasma. It is used as a potential treatment. So basically,  you would have to be confirmed to have had the disease and be symptom free for at least 14 days — that may change,” said Bonafede. “So really anyone who thinks they may be eligible for this program or know someone who may be eligible to donate, I would strongly encourage them to go to our website.” 

The Red Cross still encourages the community to donate blood or monetary donations, so they can continue to serve those in need during this health crisis. 

More information on Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients.

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