Recovered COVID-19 patient makes first plasma donation in valley

Olivia Sandusky

LA QUINTA- A recovered COVID-19 patient was the first to make a convalescent plasma donation in the Coachella Valley.

In early tests, the process of using plasma to help patients dealing with the virus has proved encouraging.

Angela Hoyt from Palm Desert caught the virus in March and was asymptomatic.

After recovering and testing negative, she decided to donate her plasma at LifeStream Blood Bank to help those in critical condition.

“This is one way I could say okay let me help somehow, so you don’t feel so hopeless,” said Hoyt. “It’s a way to help someone in the community, no matter who they are, who wasn’t quite as lucky.”

The process takes about 45 minutes and is similar to giving blood.

“We’re able to divert the plasma into the bag and then we return the red cells back to the patient so we’re only taking what we need,” said Dr. Rick Axelrod, President and CEO of LifeStream Blood Bank. “We’re giving everything back to the donor.”

Once the plasma has been collected and tested, it will be available for patients suffering from COVID-19 to use within 48 hours.

“Patients who are transfused with plasma from donors who have antibodies can help them in recovering from coronavirus infections,” said Dr. Axelrod. “We get enough product to help at least three or four patients in the hospital.”

Hoyt said her experience was fairly simple.

“It’s really nothing significant, it doesn’t hurt. Everybody’s really been so friendly and accommodating and it’s nice and clean and sterile. There’s nothing to be worried about,” said Hoyt.

Now, experts with Lifestream say they hope her actions will inspire others to donate as well.

“There isn’t really a treatment for coronavirus and those patients that are really the sickest are being treated with different methods, and this is one of them,” said Dr, Axelrod.

Message from LifeStream:

Potential donors must be pre-screened by healthcare providers and LifeStream
personnel, and appointments will be made only by LifeStream staff. Once eligibility is confirmed,
LifeStream will work with donors to collect and process the plasma for COVID-19 patient
treatment.
LifeStream provides blood products and services to more than 80 hospitals in six
Southern California counties. To maximize donor safety and to ensure social distance
guidelines are adhered to, appointments are required to donate plasma at LifeStream centers in
San Bernardino, Riverside, Ontario, Victorville, Murrieta, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta.
To set an appointment to donate convalescent plasma, and for more information, call
909-386-6837 or visit LStream.org/covidplasma.

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