New South Wales coronavirus update

New South Wales coronavirus update

See the latest about COVID-19 and donating blood in New South Wales.


Can I still donate blood during lockdown areas in NSW?

Yes. Donating blood is an essential act of care-giving. Our Victorian, NSW and Brisbane donor centres all remained open during previous lockdowns and donor centres were places of wellness for donors to come in and donate. That is also the case for the current lockdown in NSW.


Are your donor centres still open in lockdown areas?

Yes, our donor centres in the lockdown areas are still open. Donating blood is an essential service and we need donors to continue donating throughout the lockdown.

Occasionally we may need a short-term closure of a donor centre, but there will always be plenty of donor centres open to ensure we keep collecting enough blood for people in need.


Can donors from lockdown areas donate outside their home suburb?

Donating blood is an essential service. NSW government advice is clear that people can travel outside their postcodes for essential reasons. However, this should be done in line with government requirements limiting movement where possible. Try donating at your nearest or usual donation centre, and avoid travelling further than required to donate blood.


I live in one of the 12 LGAs that is subject to increased restrictions. Do I need to be tested or vaccinated to donate blood outside of my LGA?

No, only authorised workers are subject to these requirements. Whilst we would encourage all our donors to be vaccinated as soon as they can this is not a requirement to donate blood, as it applies to authorised workers only. You can travel outside of your LGA to donate blood and NSW Health encourages donors to continue to donate blood.


Is it safe for people to donate in the lockdown areas?

Our donor centres are very low risk places to visit and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that stays the case.

Lifeblood facilities are strictly regulated by the Therapeutic Good Administration, and as such our ongoing operating procedures must always comply with the highest safety and hygiene standards, including extensive cleaning.

The risk of transmission remains very low, due to the many measures already in place to minimise the risk of infection including:

  • restricting access to essential staff only with no visitors
  • implementing social distancing in all work areas and common areas in our donor centres 
  • installing additional hygiene stations
  • a clear directive that unwell staff should not come to work
  • supporting working from home where possible
  • generous leave entitlements and support for employees who are unwell or required to self-isolate or quarantine. 
  • face masks for all staff and donors in line with government requirements.

We have also implemented further measures to help protect our donors and our teams, including wellness checks, which require donors to undergo a non-contact temperature check prior to entering our centres. We also require all donors to complete a questionnaire aimed at protecting both them, our staff and donors and the person who may receive their blood.


Do donors need to wear a mask when they donate at a NSW donor centre? 

Yes, as face masks are currently mandatory indoors in line with the government mandate. Surgical face masks provide consistent protection so we strongly encourage donors to wear surgical face masks rather than cloth masks when donating if possible.

Masks were introduced in Greater Sydney and Wollongong as of the 20th June when the original cluster in Sydney expanded in line with government directions to mandate masks indoors in these areas. The Central Coast was added as of the 23rd June. Regional NSW indoor masks were introduced by the NSW government on the 26th June. We will remove this requirement as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our donor centres are places of wellness, and we have implemented additional measures to ensure that remains the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Is it still safe to donate given the risk of community transmission in NSW?

We have implemented additional measures to ensure that our donor centres remain places of wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When there is an increased risk of community transmission we implement extra precautions, including the wearing of face masks. As of the 26th June face masks are required in all donor centres in NSW in line with the government mandate.

If you are able to donate blood to continue to support the one in three Australians who will need blood or a blood product during their life, please do. 

To help us with maintaining physical distancing in all our centres, please ensure you book your donation in advance and come alone. Thank you for your support!


Will masks be provided for NSW donors or should they supply their own?

If you donate in NSW and do not have a mask, we will provide you with one. We strongly encourage donors to wear surgical masks if possible, as cloth masks can vary more in effectiveness.  If you have a cloth mask and would prefer to wear a surgical mask during your donation we can also provide you with one.


Will someone who donates in NSW be allowed to donate if they refuse to wear a mask?

No, unless they have a medical exemption. We will ask donors who refuse to wear a mask to postpone their appointment until the public health advice is updated. We are closely guided by Federal and State/Territory public health guidelines which we carefully monitor.


Will you refuse entry to a donor centre for someone who refuses to wear a mask?

Yes, if they do not have a medical exemption, because the requirement to wear masks is for the safety of both our donors and our staff and is currently recommended by the government. Donors need a valid reason but written proof is not required.


Are there any extra donor restrictions with the recent cases in NSW transmission risk?

When there has been cases of recent community transmission, we ask that all donors are aware of and regularly check the NSW Health website list of potential exposure locations for current COVID-19 locations and alerts regarding potential exposure sites from the COVID-19 cases before donating.

If you have been at one of these locations, you should follow public health advice. If you have been advised to quarantine for 14 days you are considered a close contact and cannot donate blood for 14 days following exposure and you have been cleared by public health. If you have been to a listed location where you must present for a COVID test and isolate until a negative result, you must follow public health directions including having a COVID-19 test and await the result before you donate. If required, please reschedule your donation. 


Do Albury donors need to continue to wear masks?

Yes, this is because face masks are currently required in indoor areas in both NSW and Victoria. We strongly encourage donors to wear surgical masks if possible, as cloth masks can vary more in effectiveness.

 

Where do I find information on the COVID-19 vaccine and donating blood?

If you've had the COVID-19 vaccine or you're planning to, as a precaution you'll need to wait 7 days after receiving each COVID-19 vaccine before you donate blood. For more details, check out our advice.