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Severe weather closes blood donor rooms, forces cancellation of drives

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center will need to make up almost 1,000 lost donations when conditions improve

All South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor rooms will be closed on Monday, Feb. 15 and all blood drives that day will be canceled because of the severe winter weather across South Texas.

But the need for blood is as strong as ever, boosted by the potential for auto accidents on icy roads and streets.

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, will need to make up almost 1,000 donations lost during several days of severe weather to keep up with the needs of patients in South Texas.

When the blood and tissue center re-opens donor rooms and drives, all donors will receive a $20 Amazon gift card through Sunday, Feb. 21, as well as donor reward points.

Donors can make an appointment by visiting or calling 210-731-5590. Same-day appointments are available at the center’s seven donor rooms as well as at community blood drives.

The center also will be accepting walk-in donors as space allows. The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center continues to follow all safety protocols for COVID-19, including social distancing in waiting areas and donation rooms, required wearing of masks at all times and sanitizing donor beds after each donation.

“Severe weather across the country has decimated the nation’s blood supply,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President of Blood Services at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center. “That shortage includes South Texas.

“The severe weather events turned an already dangerously low blood inventory into a potential healthcare crisis.”

Because of the blood shortage, the center has been forced to work with hospitals to evaluate which patients receive blood transfusions.

“We’re concerned that the dwindling blood supply will prevent patients from receiving blood when they need it” Mendoza said. “It is our mission to help save lives and we can only do that through the generosity of blood donors and the support of the community.”

The blood and tissue center will be adding appointments this week as it works to re-build the blood supply. All donors are asked to keep their appointments or call 210-731-5590 to reschedule and open a time for someone else to give.

COVID study in UK shows high levels of antibodies up to six months after infection

Results could have implications for immunity

Virtually everyone in a study in the United Kingdom who had COVID-19 still had antibodies to it in their systems three months after recovering, and almost nine in 10 had them after six months.

The research by UK Biobank included more than 20,000 people across the UK and was reported on the organization’s website.

“Although we cannot be certain how this relates to immunity, the results suggest that people may be protected against subsequent infection for at least six months following natural infection and, potentially, vaccination,” said Naomi Allen, UK Biobank Chief Scientist.

Six-month study

The study ran from May-December. A total of 20,200 participants provided monthly blood samples and data on their symptoms, along with reports on their adult children and grandchildren.

The most notable result was that 99% of participants who had COVID-19 still had antibodies in their systems after three months, and 88% had them after six months.

Younger people showed more antibodies

The study also found that while there was no difference in antibody levels by gender, the proportion of participants with detectable antibodies was higher in people under 30 and lowest in those over 70.

Variations in symptoms

The most common symptom was a loss of sense of taste and smell, reported by 43% of COVID-positive participants.

Twenty-four percent of COVID-positive participants were completely asymptomatic and 40% did not have one of the three major COVID-19 symptoms: fever, persistent dry cough or loss of sense of taste or smell.

The full report on the study is available on the BioBank UK website.

Recovered from COVID-19?

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, you can help current South Texas patients fight by donating convalescent plasma. See if you qualify to donate plasma at

If you can’t donate plasma, you can help by donating blood to help fight the blood shortage caused by the pandemic.

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