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COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and organ donation transplant updates from Gift of Life Michigan

Gift of Life Michigan is keeping donor families, recipients, patients waiting for transplants, medical professionals and other supporters updated on how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may affect organ and tissue donation, as well as the safety of the community.

Our staff continues to work with our organ transplant center and tissue processing partners to get these life-saving gifts to the people who need them while maintaining the safety of recipients, donor families, our staff, healthcare workers and the public.

All potential organ donors are being tested for COVID-19, as they are for any infectious disease. As the medical community has learned more about COVID-19, it is now apparent that abdominal organs, such as liver and kidneys, do not transmit the virus. Gift of Life continues to thoroughly assess all potential organ donors, including those with a past or current COVID-19 positive test or infection. We closely monitor and follow the precautions set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MiOSHA), county and state health departments, along with other pertinent guidance to keep recipients, families, and staff safe. Gift of Life will follow state and federal guidelines regarding vaccination, masking and social distancing.  

Download our Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 (as it relates to organ & tissue donation and transplant) for more information.

Messages from Gift of Life organ donation coordinators

Friday, July 9, 2021: Following the lead of health systems and federal instutitions across the state and country, Gift of Life Michigan announced that the organization would require all staff to be vaccinated for Covid-19 or receive an approved exemption, beginning Sept. 10, 2021. 

March 30, 2021: Watch the replay of a livestream discussion for an update on how Covid-19 has affected organ donation and transplant. Meet a heart transplant recipient who has survived Covid-19! 

Feb. 22, 2021: Death of a double-lung transplant recipient who contracted Covid-19 from the donor is doubly devastating. Article courtesy of the Detroit Free Press.

Feb. 10, 2021: Patients who have recovered from Covid-19 may still be able to donate organs and tissue. An updated Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 document is also available for reference.

Jan. 19, 2021: Some donors with a history of COVID-19 (but not an active case) are able to provide organs for transplant. 

Oct. 30, 2020: Despite state changes and recent court rulings, Gift of Life Michigan will maintain Covid-19 safety protocols

July 17, 2020:  Gift of Life Michigan takes #MaskUpMichigan pledge to help businesses reopen safely. 

June 18, 2020:  Organ transplants return to pre-COVID-19 levels; double lung transplant performed to treat critical coronavirus patient. 

May 19, 2020: #LetsTalkTuesday Medical Examiner and Funeral Home Liaisons Stephanie Sommer and Curpri Sanders discuss the important relationship between Gift of Life and our end-of-life partners, and how that work has been affected by the pandemic.

May 5, 2020: #LetsTalkTuesday Chief of People & Culture Nathalie Davis included Gift of Life's efforts to protect and assist staff during the coronavirus pandemic as part of her discussion on Facebook Live.

April 28, 2020: #LetsTalkTuesday Gift of Life Family Services Coordinator John Anderson and Aftercare Services Coordinator Alexis Harp talked about how their roles have changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic on Facebook Live.

April 21, 2020: #LetsTalkTuesday Donor Services Center manager Megan Selis and Donor Specialist Allison Minix were interviewed on Facebook Live about their roles in the donation process, differences between organ donation and tissue donation, and how COVID-19 has changed their work.

April 14, 2020: #LetsTalkTuesday Histocompatibility Laboratory Technologists Christine Peiter and Mary Ellen Huetteman were interviewed on Facebook Live about the role of lab testing in the donation process, and how that has changed during the pandemic.

April 10, 2020: COVID-19 update: protecting patients, staff and the community 

April 7, 2020: #LetsTalkTuesday CEO Dorrie Dils was interviewed on Facebook Live about staff safety, patient safety and whether COVID-19 patients can donate organs and tissues.


External Resources

wash your hands to protect from coronavirus covid-19 pandemic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

State of Michigan

World Health Organization (WHO) 

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO)

American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS)

Donate Life America (DLA)


COVID-19 Transplant Resource Center

FEMA financial assistance for funerals of covid patients