The American Red Cross strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19 rise in the U.S.
As the number of COVID-19 cases grows in the U.S., the number of people eligible to give blood for patients in need could decrease further.
“We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “As fears of the coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”
You can make an appointment to donate blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Type O and platelet donations are especially needed right now.
Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood, according to the Red Cross. There are 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, the Red Cross web site states.
Nonetheless, the Red Cross has implemented new blood donation deferrals out of an abundance of caution. Individuals are asked to postpone their donation for 28 days following:
Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea; or a diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who or is suspected to have the virus.
The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation — and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org.
At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.
The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions, according to The Red Cross.
“Keep giving, keep hosting blood drives,” said Hrouda. “Patients across the country need our help.”
To learn more about hosting a blood drive for patients in need, visit RedCrossBlood.org.