SAN ANTONIO – The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center announced Saturday that it had a team member test positive for COVID-19.
The employee is believed to have contracted the virus while away from work, officials said.
In a statement, Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Waltman and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Beddard said the employee is recovering from the virus at home. This is the first positive COVID-19 test result among the center’s staff members.
The last dates the infected teammate worked were on June 13 and June 14 at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center Northeast Donor Room, located at 8500 Village Drive.
The employee also worked on June 15 at the Westover Hills Donor Room, located at 10555 Culebra Road.
The statement from Waltman and Beddard said the employee developed symptoms of COVID-19 following transmission that was believed to have occurred outside the workplace from a close family member.
“We are working closely with the health department on this issue to ensure that we are following all recommended measures to protect the health and safety of our employees and our lifesaving blood donors,” Waltman and Beddard’s statement read.
The center confirmed that both donor rooms have since been sanitized throughout the day as a part of regular safety measures and undergone additional deep cleaning in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.
Waltman and Beddard’s statement said blood donations typically do not involve continuous close contact between the donor collection staff. However, to keep donors informed, the center contacted individuals who have visited donor rooms where the employee was working, even if they were not cared for by the staff member.
Proactive safety measures the center has in place:
- Requiring staff to wear masks and gloves and providing masks to donors.
- Reducing crowding through an appointment-only system for blood donations.
- Practicing social distancing wherever possible, including six feet between donor beds and between chairs in waiting areas.
- Health and temperature screenings of staff members, volunteers, donors and others who enter the campus or their blood drives.
- Sanitizing all donor beds and related equipment between each blood donation and at the end of the workday.
More information on blood donation and the policies the center has instituted in response to COVID-19 is available at SouthTexasBlood.org.