OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In an effort to help Oklahomans battling COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt made his second convalescent plasma donation on Tuesday. He also encouraged other Oklahomans who have recovered from the virus to do the same.
“If we’ve already been through the COVID and we’ve recovered, 160,000 people have done that,” Stitt said. “Let’s get them in here and make sure we’re exporters of plasma instead of trying to import it from other states.”
According to the Oklahoma Blood Institute, the state is in desperate need of plasma. OBI has sent out around 11,000 units of plasma, but only 8,000 of those units were donated in state.
“We’re importing from other parts of the country to try and keep up with demand. We’ve had a spike here, which has put a lot of patients in hospitals,” OBI President and CEO Dr. John Armitage said. “If you want to help right now, if you want to save a life right now, this is the way you can step forward if you’ve had the virus and pay it back.”
Stitt was joined by the CEO of Integris, who was making his first plasma donation. Members of the Oklahoma City Police Department and Oklahoma City Fire Department also made their first donations.
The decision to donate was a very personal one for Oklahoma City Fire District Chief Kyle Durham.
“On the 20th of November, his dad passed away from COVID,” Maj. Louie Marschik said. “We were curious if he’d even come in, but he wanted to come in and do anything he could to bring awareness. He doesn’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
Officer Erica Jackson made her first plasma donation as well. She had never even donated blood before Tuesday, but she knew this was something she had to do.
“It’s important to me to go ahead and donate and try to help other people who are really suffering from it, especially because I didn’t have to suffer a whole lot with COVID,” Jackson said. “Those that are, it’s important for me to try and help them as much as I can.”
To donate you have to be at least 14 days removed from having symptoms. One donation can help up to four patients in the hospital fighting the virus.