For Miami Valley Today
DAYTON — The first COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma since the launch of the Dayton region’s COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma program donated Tuesday, April 14 at Community Blood Center. Both are front line health and public safety workers, and both are from Miami County where an early outbreak of infections occurred.
Troy’s Steve Norris, an Oakwood police officer, firefighter and EMT, is now the area’s third CCP donor. He was followed by Tipp City’s David Summers, a physician’s assistant at Upper Valley Medical Center and manager of the emergency department PA’s.
On April 6, before the launch of the public CCP program, Community Blood Center became the first blood center in Ohio to collect plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The antibodies present in convalescent plasma may help critically ill patients fight the infection.
CBC’s public program launched on April 10 in a joint announcement with Premier Health, the first health system in the nation to enroll a recovered COVID-19 patient in this experimental therapeutic treatment using protocols established by the Mayo Clinic.
CCP donor Steve Norris said his symptoms started with a cough. He was tested for COVID-19 at UD Arena. By the time he learned he was positive for the virus he was nearly recovered. He said he learned about donating CPP from a Facebook post about the plight of COVID-19 patient Dr. Mukul Chandra, medical director of cardiac preventive care and research at Miami Valley Hospital.
“It’s good to be able to do something with this,” Norris said. “We hear all about the negative aspects of COVID and there’s plenty of them. But those who have recovered might have something in their blood to help people who are really, really sick. No sense in waiting when there are people really sick and dying.”
CCP donor David Summers was also motivated to help Dr. Chandra. He saw the impact of COVID-19 when Miami County suffered a cluster outbreak of deadly infections at a nursing home. He then experienced it when he became infected.
“We had a lot of really sick patients early in March,” he said. “We were kind of the first to get hit. I was surrounded by it. I was one of the first people to get tested at UD.”
He isolated himself in his basement, waiting for his test result, and trying to avoid infecting his wife, their 8-year-old daughter and 8-month-old son.
“I didn’t want to get anyone else sick,” he said. “I just lived in the basement for two weeks. I couldn’t walk across the room to go the bathroom without being short of breath.”
He avoided going to the ER because he didn’t want to endanger his colleagues. He recovered at home, returned to work April 6, and was encouraged to donate CCP. His plasma donation Tuesday was his first ever blood donation.
“I hate the sight of my own blood, I don’t mind seeing other people’s,” he said. “But this was a special circumstance. “It’s good for people to know they can help. I know because I’m in the business.”
Community Blood Center is now recruiting eligible COVID-19 survivors to donate Convalescent Plasma (CCP). Their antibody-rich plasma has the potential to save the lives of critically ill COVID-19 patients. Information for donors and physicians is on the CBC website www.GivingBlood.org. Potential CCP donors can review the eligibility criteria and doctors can complete the form needed to qualify the potential donor for the program.