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.
Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
Here in the Minnesota-Dakotas Region, 80 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 2,500 fewer blood donations. The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give.
In addition to their thorough safety protocols, 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.
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.
Blood Donation Process
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.