FAQ:Answers about Coronavirus and Blood DonationLearn More


Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness.

RHODE ISLAND – Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) is calling on healthy blood and platelet donors to help strengthen the region’s blood supply by making and keeping appointments to donate at their six donor centers. 

Fifty percent of blood donations in our region comes from blood drives that are hosted by schools, organizations and businesses. As these groups began to take precautions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and cancel mobile blood drives, RIBC moved its operations to the six donor centers where they can control the enviroment and flow of donors. 

FAQ-Coronavirus and Blood Donation

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Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because blood is perishable, and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf today is the blood needed to help women and newborns during complications with childbirth; people battling cancer or undergoing chemotherapy; people who have suffered trauma or severe burns; people with heart and kidney disease and blood disorders like sickle cell anemia; and individuals who need surgery and organ transplants.

“Every donation at every one of our centers is critical,” said Beau Tompkins, Senior Executive Director of RIBC. “As healthy, eligible donors, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and our communities to keep the blood supply safe and robust. A resilient healthcare system is more important than ever, and we’re counting on everyone to help maintain that.”

RIBC is seeking to double the blood reserves now so that it can prevent shortages if coronavirus cancellations continue.

It is important to know that donating blood is safe. RIBC staff are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. They are also regularly cleaning public surfaces. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they are experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. 

RIBC provides life-saving blood to nearly every hospital in Rhode Island and many hospitals throughout New England and is responsible for ensuring that our region has a safe and reliable blood supply. It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and nearly 250 donations are needed each day to meet the needs of the hospitals and patients RIBC serves.

Please, do NOT present to donate if:

1. You have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing).

2. You’ve had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Close contact is defined by CDC as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for a prolonged period of time.

3. You have been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after your illness has resolved.

We do NOT test for COVID-19. Please contact your health care provider if you want to be tested. 


Media Contact: Kara LeBlanc, Marketing Communications Manager, RIBC, kleblanc@ribc.org, (401) 787-8686.