The American Red Cross says it is now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.
Through March 16, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations, the Red Cross said.
Workplaces, college campuses and schools are canceling their blood drives as these locations temporarily close and more people are being told to work remotely and practice social distancing. The Red Cross says it is expecting cancellations to continue to increase, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country.
The Red Cross says it has implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of donors and staff:
• Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy
• Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process
• Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors, and
• Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment. “We also want to emphasize that at each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection,” the agency said in an announcement.
This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer. “One of the most important things you can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of the coronavirus is to give blood,” the agency said.
If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).