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How to Donate Blood During the Spread of Coronavirus

How to Donate Blood During the Spread of Coronavirus
March 31
11:15 2020

By Michelle Ma

In trying times, the best salve is often helping others. As the spread of Covid-19 continues to change our lives, you might be wondering what you can do for your loved ones, your community and others affected by the pandemic. One way to help is to donate blood.

Blood centers across the U.S. are seeing inventory levels down an estimated 30% to 40% compared with the same time last year as the coronavirus pandemic has canceled thousands of blood drives and kept hundreds of thousands of potential donors at home.

“It’s unprecedented,” says Kate Fry, chief executive officer of America’s Blood Centers, which represents blood centers that collect close to 60% of the nation’s blood supply.

Roughly 12,000 blood drives have been canceled across the country from March through July, as businesses, schools and other collection sites have closed due to coronavirus concerns. Industry estimates project these cancellations will result in 355,000 fewer blood units.

“We’ve never seen anything like this cancellation level before,” says Chris Hrouda, president of biomedical services at the American Red Cross. In past disaster situations, like hurricanes and shootings, responders have been able to bring in emergency blood from other parts of the country, but this time the need is widespread, he says.

So far, doctors are managing the decreased blood supply, which Mr. Hrouda and Ms. Fry credit to the decision by many hospitals to postpone elective surgery. “Still, there’s going to be patients that need blood transfusions no matter what,” Ms. Fry says.

If you are healthy and feeling well, you can make an appointment to donate by visiting:

• AABB: www.aabb.org

• America’s Blood Centers: www.americasblood.org

• American Red Cross: www.redcrossblood.org

• Armed Services Blood Program: www.militaryblood.dod.mil

• Blood Centers of America: www.bca.coop

Enter your ZIP Code in the blood-center locaters to find the location nearest to you.

Blood centers are taking extra precautions to safeguard against spreading infection, including increasing the spacing between beds and taking the temperatures of donors before they enter the blood drive. Some sites are asking donors to stay in their cars until they are ready to see them, says Mr. Hrouda.

Both America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross are urging potential donors to schedule an appointment in advance, to aid their local blood centers’ social-distancing measures.

They also want to dispel the rumor that you can receive a coronavirus test at a blood center. There is no test to screen blood donations for the coronavirus and other respiratory viruses, according to the American Red Cross.

The Food and Drug Administration also issued a statement on March 11 that there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus, and that respiratory viruses aren’t known to be transmitted by blood transfusion.

And if your city or state has issued a shelter-in-place order, you can still donate blood, says Ms. Fry. Blood donation counts as an essential activity, like grocery shopping, and is “a concrete way to support your community.”

Source of wall street

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Tarannum Naaz

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