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American Red Cross Faces Severe Blood Shortage As Coronavirus Outbreak Threatens Availability of Nation’s Supply
The US faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak
The American Red Cross announced today that nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the U.S. due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.
As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate. The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to continue to increase, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.
“As a nation, this is a time where we must take care of one another including those most vulnerable among us in hospitals,” said Gail McGovern, president and chief executive officer, American Red Cross. “One of the most important things people can do right now during this public health emergency is to give blood. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible.”
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, and 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, and 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.
Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood, as Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need.
Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross 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.