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Organ donation amidst the pandemic

Can you still donate if you had COVID-19?
Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 1:49 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The pandemic has slowed down many operations across the globe but the need for organ transplants hasn’t slowed down at all.

That’s why Nevada Donor Network is urging you to register as a donor.

Darren Lahrman is the Vice President of Clinical Affairs of the organization.

Nevada Donor Network
Nevada Donor Network(KOLO)

"Obviously the pandemic did impact the national ecosystem for organ donation, said Lahrman

Lahrman says roughly 9,000 Nevadans register as donors each month.

Sixty percent of nevadans are registered as organ, eye, tissue donors....the majority of people making its decision at their local DMV, but with offices closed early in the pandemic, donor registrations did decrease.

“Fortunately since then the number of registrations have increased each month since reopening. while monthly registrations haven’t returned from pre-pandemic levels due to social distancing,” explained Lahrman. "What we have been doing is encouraging people to register online.

However with the number of questions surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, what does this mean for donors who tested positive for COVID-19?

“According the American Society of Transplantation, the risk of acquiring COVID through organ donation is always unknown but at this time it’s thought to be very low,” added Lahrman. "The reason being is we mitigate against disease transmission.

Nevada Donor Network screens all potential donors for COVID-19 and their exposure history along with other infectious diseases.

“Organ donation eligibility would require enough time to allow for the active infection to clear,” said Lahrman. “Sometimes you see quotes of 4 weeks or so but what we’ve been able to establish with our hospital partners is to ensure that retesting is completed as symptoms to the infection resolves.”

For those in need of a transplant....the wait list can’t wait any longer...

“We’ve been fortunate to collaborate with our hospital and transplant factors to faciliate these life saving gifts,” added Lahrman. “Despite the pandemic, the Nevada Donor Network and the Nevada community continue to donate at a rate per capita higher than any other area in the country.

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