Texas county will offer cash incentive to increase COVID-19 plasma donations

The stipends will be paid for by roughly $150,000 in federal funds.

September 13, 2020, 6:22 PM

Bexar County, Texas, has over 40,000 people who have survived COVID-19 infections -- but only a few hundred of those patients have donated plasma, according to health officials.

Now authorities are looking to entice those patients with some cash.

Justin Rodriguez, the Precinct 2 county commissioner, said the county has secured $150,000 from the federal government to fund a new stipend system to encourage residents to make plasma donations.

"It’ll be somewhere between $50 and $100 per donation," Rodriguez told reporters.

PHOTO: Analilia Ryan, center, has her temperature tested in order to screen for possible coronavirus cases while trying to enter the Haven for Hope campus in San Antonio, Texas, March 18, 2020.
Analilia Ryan, center, has her temperature tested in order to screen for possible coronavirus cases while trying to enter the Haven for Hope campus in San Antonio, Texas, March 18, 2020.
Matthew Busch for The Washington Post via Getty Images, FILE

The county, which includes San Antonio, has had nearly 49,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 992 related deaths, according to its health department. The plasma has been used in treatment for COVID-19 patients but it is not a cure for the virus.

PHOTO: Jacqueline Dunlap prepares whole blood samples for placement into a centrifuge to separate plasma for antibody testing at the Bloodworks Northwest Laboratory during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Renton, Washington, Sept. 9, 2020.
Jacqueline Dunlap prepares whole blood samples for placement into a centrifuge to separate plasma for antibody testing at the Bloodworks Northwest Laboratory during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Renton, Washington, Sept. 9, 2020.
Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

Rodriguez said the stipend program is still being worked out, but plans are to roll it out by the end of the month. He added that patients who hold onto their proof of donations could get back pay.

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