Editor’s Note: This story has been updated following the cancelation of the March 31 blood drive in Brazil and the changes made to the Terre Haute blood drive schedule.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.
Wabash Valley residents have opportunities to donate during the month of April.
Blood drives will held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 1 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at Meadows Banquet Room, 2800 Poplar Drive
A blood drive scheduled for March 31 in Brazil has been canceled.
To help with social distancing, appointments are recommended. Individuals can schedule an appointment by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate. Nearly, 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.
More than 80 percent of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at these locations.
“We know that people want to help, but they may be hesitant to visit a blood drive during this time,” Theo Boots, Red Cross executive director for Southwest Indiana said. “We want to assure the public that blood donation is a safe process, and we have put additional precautions in place at our blood drives and donation centers to protect all who come out.”
The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including:
- 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.
- Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
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, including:
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor.
- Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas.
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation.
- Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.