LANTANA, Fla. — A school in Palm Beach County is sending out an urgent plea to help their principal who was recently diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Palm Beach Maritime Academy in Lantana posted on their Facebook page on Thursday that Principal Reno Boffice has the virus.
However, based on his diagnosis date, school officials do not believe he had contact with anyone who attended the school before it was closed last month.
The school is putting out a request for anybody who meets the following criteria to donate blood plasma:
1. Positive test result for COVID-19. You must have a copy of the test result and be able to bring a copy with you when you donate.
2. Be symptom-free for at least 14 days.
3. Local to the South Florida area.
The plasma of recovered coronavirus patients contains antibodies that can boost a sick patient’s immune system and may help them recover.
The school asks that If you are able to make a plasma donation, to contact infectious disease specialist Dr. Leslie Diaz at 561-776-8300 as soon as possible.
Boffice is currently in the intensive care unit at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.
"My brother is wonderful. He has such a big heart. I mean, the kids love him. The teachers love him. For the life of me, I don’t know how he does it," said Louise Boffice, the principal's sister.
Louise said her brother is in good spirits despite some scary nights in the intensive care unit.
“It’s never good when the doctor calls you to talk to you about a loved one in the hospital, and that’s when he was doing really bad … that was on Wednesday. She said we need plasma,” said Louise Boffice.
Diaz said plasma is the last resort when a patient does not respond to medication used to treat coronavirus symptoms. She has been working with her patients' families to share information on social media about the criteria to donate plasma.
“The need for donations for a couple of patients in my ICU … I’ve been flooded with phone calls so we took that opportunity. My girls yesterday just stopped what they’re doing and just educated everybody, identified the correct candidates and plugged them or helped them plug into the system,” said Diaz.
A representative from OneBlood said they are working around the clock to screen candidates and collect plasma.
One way doctors can help is to make sure they provide documentation to their patients when they test positive for COVID-19 or when they have recovered and need a negative test.
On Friday, the school also posted a video update making an appeal for a blood plasma donation for Boffice.
Palm Beach Maritime Academy is a kindergarten through 12th grade public charter school.