COVID-19 affecting organ donations across the country

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 5:25 PM CDT
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Health systems continue to cancel elective procedures and in-person appointments due to COVID-19 and organ donation is no exception.

According to UW Health, the country is doing about half as many transplants as it was in February.

It says the decrease is because of risk to potential recipients, a decrease in potential donors, and staffing and equipment needs of health systems.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 are not able to donate organs due to infectious risk.

"COVID-19 is a pretty significant infection and the early data that we're seeing on it has shown that for patients who are immunosuppressed, whose immune system have been tricked to accept an organ, are especially susceptible to it," said Nikole Neidlinger, the associate medical director of the UW Organ and Tissue Donation Program. "So, unfortunately anyone who is testing positive for COVID or dying from COVID is not eligible to be an organ donor."

UW Health says it hopes through antibody testing in the future more information can be learned.