By Dillon Ancheta | August 2, 2020 at 5:34 PM HST – Updated August 2 at 6:11 PM
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – With COVID cases and hospitalizations on the rise, the Blood Bank of Hawaii is renewing their call for convalescent plasma donations from people who have beat the virus.
It’s a special treatment being used to help severely ill COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
The blood bank says the rich antibodies in the yellow plasma could give a potentially life-saving boost to people who need it most.
Hawaii’s supply is running dangerously low as demand continues to climb.
“Just the last week alone, the use of convalescent plasma tripled. And so now, what we are seeing is the use has far outstripped our ability to collect,” Dr. Kim-Anh Nguyen, CEO of the Blood Bank of Hawaii said.
”We have, depending on blood types, a very very low level. Fewer than a handful,” she added.
Donors who previously tested positive need to be symptom free for at least 28 days before being cleared to give.
Each donation can produce about three doses of plasma for patients in need.
The blood bank is doing their best to import plasma from the mainland as needed, but rather than relying on other states, Nguyen is looking to the people of Hawaii first.
Laurie and Bill Murphy of Kaimuki were among the first plasma donors. They beat the virus early on and wanted to help potentially save the lives of others.
“It’s actually not as painful compared to donating blood. Not that donating blood is painful, but it really is a lot easier,” Laurie Murphy said.
“It’s not a big deal and it could be so vitally important to somebody else,” her husband Bill added.
Convalescent plasma is collected at the Blood Bank’s Dillingham location during weekdays. They’re looking to expand collection times to weekends and as well as the neighbor islands.
“Hawaii has to help our own. We cannot rely on the mainland, especially not now,” Dr. Nguyen said. “We have the power not just to stop transmission, we also have the power to help treat and save lives.”
“We have donors walking around in Hawaii, and I’m here to ask them to roll up their sleeves. If every potential recovered COVID patient would come in and donate, we would have enough,” Dr. Nguyen said.
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