Asof Aug. 18, 26 people were hospitalized at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, fighting against COVID-19, and 10 of those patients are in critical care. They are community members, family members, loved ones. Health care teams at Cottage Health are working hard to help them recover.

Throughout this time, visitors are limited for COVID-19 precautions, which is challenging for patients and families.

While medical and research teams throughout the world and in our hospitals continue to learn more about COVID-19 and the best ways to help people fight the virus, today there are several ways the community can help each other and patients in the hospital:

The community can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by frequent handwashing, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and avoiding gatherings with others outside their household.
Community members can also help save lives by donating blood and plasma.

“Physicians and patients are battling against COVID-19 with limited tools available to treat this new virus, as the world’s scientific community focuses intensely on the research that will lead us to the best treatments,” said Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons, director of Quality and Research, Medical Education, and associate medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at Cottage Health.

“At Cottage Health, we are very interested in the potential of convalescent plasma as a tool for fighting the virus in the most severe cases when patients are hospitalized. We rely on the generosity of recovered patients to donate their plasma. It can help us to help others,” Fitzgibbons said.

One person with COVID-19 antibodies can donate multiple units of plasma, potentially making a difference in the lives of several more people.

Donating blood: Community members who are healthy can help patients in the hospital by giving blood at their local Vitalant blood donation center.

Giving blood now could identify even more opportunity to help. All blood donations are tested for antibodies that could help hospitalized patients recover from COVID-19. If antibodies are found, the donor can apply to donate plasma.

Vitalant offers a list of Central Coast blood donation centers at Note: Vitalant does not provide testing for COVID-19, and people should not donate blood if they are sick. 
Donating plasma: People who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past and have fully recovered can apply directly with Vitalant to donate convalescent plasma to help others fighting the virus. Plasma donors must be symptom-free for 28 days prior to a donation.

For details, visit or call 866-287-5762.