WINK News reporter recovers from COVID-19, donates plasma

WINK News Reporter Dannielle Garcia is back at work after testing positive for the coronavirus and recovering from it over the course of three weeks.

But her first stop before the newsroom was to donate plasma, which we hope will help someone else recover.

We are excited to have Dannielle back!

Fortunately, she had a mild case of COVID-19, sick for a few days and then much better, but there are many others struggling with COVID-19.

“Hopefully, the antibodies I built up will help someone else win their fight,” Garcia said. “There are thousands of us who’ve recovered from COVID-19.”

Lee Health is working with Mayo Clinic and conducting a clinical trial on convalescent plasma.

Dr. Douglas Brust is in charge. He told us it’s too early to know whether that plasma works.

“It’s passive immunity, so, for example, you just donated blood, and you had COVID-19, and, in that plasma, we’re assuming that you’re going to have antibodies,” Brust said. “It’s almost like a vaccine. We’re giving antibodies to them and helping them to fight the virus early in the disease, and the hope is that they won’t progress.”

Almost 400 patients at Lee Health have gotten convalescent plasma. Dr. Brust says the biggest problem they’re facing is, ‘We’re getting far more patients admitted than we have plasma for.”

People who have recovered from COVID-19 are encourage to donate plasma to help others also recover.

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and would like to donate convalescent plasma, Lee Health says to wait at least 14 days until your symptoms have subsided. Then, call to set up an appointment. All donations made locally stay local, so this really is neighbor helping a neighbor.

Qualifications for a donor

  • You can donate blood if you have fully recovered from COVID-19. At least 14 days since you’ve been symptomatic
  • Clinical personnel will screen potential donors with questions and a nasal swab test to ensure they are free of COVID-19
  • Lee Health will provide donors with necessary forms that are required for routine blood donation consent
  • If potential donors are appropriate, an appointment for blood donation is scheduled at a Lee Health donation site

To learn more about her experience, follow WINK News Reporter Dannielle Garcia on her Facebook page.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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