Blood collection agencies said donors are urgently needed because thousands of blood drives have been canceled nationwide due to concerns about the novel coronavirus. The agencies said the need for blood and blood products never ends.
“Here and there we can occasionally handle a loss of a blood drive. But this is becoming more and more widespread,” said Kirby Winn, a spokesperson for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
“In order for transfusion medicine to continue successfully, we’ve got to have an adequate blood supply.”
Winn said there are no cases of someone contracting COVID-19 by donating blood or through a blood transfusion, and he said that’s been true of other coronaviruses too.
He said those willing to donate blood can call 563-359-5401 or 800-747-5401, or schedule an appointment online at the MVRBC website.
The website said the organization provides blood to more than 100 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Those include hospitals in Fort Madison, Galesburg, Keokuk, Macomb, Monmouth, and West Burlington.
Appointments with the Red Cross chapter for Central and Southern Illinois, which serves 72 counties across central and southern Illinois, can be made on the organization’s website.
Lyn Hruska, CEO of the Red Cross chapter, said donating blood is a safe process.
"We are adding social distancing. So the donor beds are at least six feet apart to make sure that we are keeping people safe that way. We're also adding some safety protocols. We're scrubbing down the beds between donors," Hruska said.
She also said phlebotomists are frequently changing gloves, and precautions are in place to protect the post-donation snacks from contamination.
Thanks to Tim Shelley of Peoria Public Radio for the information about the Red Cross chapter for Central and Southern Illinois
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