On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a declaration of public health emergency for Arizona because of the increasing number of cases in the U.S. of a new coronavirus called COVID-19.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday, March 13, to help prevent the spread of this new disease.
Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) is a vital link for lifesaving organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. With that in mind, our 24-hour clinical team and hospital partners continue their efforts to save and heal lives.
While the work to coordinate the gifts of life shall continue, DNA will suspend all public events through April 30, starting with Donate Life Day at the Capitol originally scheduled for March 12, 2020. Donate Life Day at the Diamondbacks, originally scheduled for March 28, also has been indefinitely postponed.
All Heroes for Hope activities with hospital and community partners will be cancelled. We appreciate the support of our partners and will share plans for future activities in the coming weeks and months.
Because DNA has been monitoring updates from multiple federal agencies and organizations, this difficult decision stems from a priority for the well-being of health care partners, DNA Staff, Donate Life Arizona volunteers, donation supporters and the public. We are all hopeful COVID-19 will be contained quickly, and we look forward to working with our partners to continue our outreach efforts to save and improve lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.
Your support of our mission allows Arizonans to continue to save and heal lives.
FAQs: ORGAN, EYE AND TISSUE DONATION:
- Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) understands COVID-19 is a serious public health concern. We invite Arizonans to continue not to rule themselves out of the gift of life. Because the screening process happens after someone passes away, we remind Arizonans that there is no age limit or health requirement to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor on DonateLifeAZ.org.
Is it safe to recover organs, eyes or tissue from a donor suspected of COVID-19 contact?
- The safety of such recovery and transplantation has yet to be determined.
- Donors who test positive for COVID-19 will be medically ineligible for donation.
- DNA uses a Donor Risk Assessment Interview (DRAI) as a screening protocol. The screening includes multiple elements including fever and other flu-like symptoms, which are common in people infected with COVID-19.
- The DRAI also covers travel to at-risk areas and exposure to people who have traveled from at-risk areas.
- Standard Precautions assume every person is potentially infected or colonized with a pathogen that could be transmitted in the healthcare setting. Elements of Standard Precautions apply to patients with respiratory infections, including those caused by COVID-19. When in the health care setting and while facilitating donation, DNA is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and hospital guidelines related to appropriate personal protective equipment for safety.
- Transplant centers are the ultimate arbiters of the decision to accept or decline an organ, and they would make that decision in consultation with their infectious disease consultants.
What are the exclusionary criteria related to COVID-19 for donation?
- DNA follows Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) guidelines specific to the novel coronavirus outbreak to screen potential eye donors. Information on that is available here: INFORMATIONAL ALERT: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Eye Tissue Donation
- For other tissue donation, DNA uses guidelines from the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) to screen potential donors. Information on that is available here: The AATB Physicians Council Issues Donor Screening and Deferral Recommendations to Tissue Bank Medical Directors Related to the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak
- The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) released guidance specific to organ recovery. Suggested precautions are outlined here: Information for transplant programs and OPOs regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Are recipients at risk of infection or complications?
- Anyone with immune suppression (either by disease or medication such as an organ recipient) is at higher risk of contracting the virus and subsequent complications. Such patients should take precaution and follow the guidance of their health care providers.
- The American Society for Transplant Surgeons (AST) released information for transplant candidates and recipients. Frequently Asked Questions for Transplant Candidates and Recipients
DNA’s commitment to Arizonans is to be constantly vigilant about the integrity of our work in donation. We work around the clock throughout the year with thousands of families at a difficult time in their lives to provide a tremendous gift to someone who is waiting for a new or renewed life. We take very seriously our responsibility to donors, their families and transplant recipients as well as our future ability to both save and improve lives. This responsibility continues to be the basis for our policies, protocols and practices.