Thousands of blood donations lost to COVID-19 pandemic
Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020
LifeShare Blood Center is in need of blood donors as a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus which has led to the loss of more than 3,500 upcoming blood donations.
LifeShare has seen dozens of blood drives cancel as concerns about the pandemic continue. Most of the cancelations are a result of high schools and colleges across LifeShare’s service area canceling in-person classes for the next several weeks. “One in five blood donations is from a teenager,” says LifeShare spokesperson Benjamin Prijatel. “These young people have a tremendous impact on the healthcare local hospitals are able to provide in our communities. With these school closures, it is very difficult to reach these young donors and motivate them to come to one of our donor centers.” In addition to schools, many businesses have canceled company-wide blood drives after many organizations have closed or instituted work-from-home alternatives for their employees. “If you now have flexibility in your schedule, we ask that you make time to donate blood,” says Prijatel.
Although hospitals across the country are beginning to delay or postpone non-emergency or elective surgeries, blood products don’t often go to these patients. “Most of the blood LifeShare collects goes to those undergoing cancer treatment, open-heart surgery, organ transplant, trauma, childbirth, and other medical procedures that can’t be put off,” says LifeShare Medical Director Dr. Tim Peterson. “These patients need blood immediately, and it is the blood that is already donated, tested, and at the hospital that saves lives.”
LifeShare will reinforce and strengthen its highly safe and FDA-regulated blood collection practices during this time. LifeShare maintains several Standard Operation Procedures (SOP’s) to ensure the safety of our blood donors, staff, and the collected blood products.
In addition to these already stringent practices, LifeShare is making enhancements to further ensure our donor areas are as low-risk as possible. These include:
- Not hosting public blood drives of greater than 50 donors.
- Sanitizing donor beds and chairs following each donation.
- Stocking additional cleaning and disinfectant supplies as we increase the cleaning of high-touch surfaces in our donor areas.
- Reinforcing training procedures to ensure our staff are following proper safety and hygiene procedures.
The safety of our donors has always been the most important of LifeShare’s effort to provide the community with lifesaving blood products. The coronavirus outbreak has not changed that. As a reminder to the community:
- LifeShare follows FDA safety regulations to ensure a safe hygienic donation environment.
- COVID-19 poses no known risk to blood donors during the donation process.
- There are no reports that COVID-19 can be transmitted through a blood transfusion.
- Blood donors should be healthy. If you are sick or symptomatic, please wait until you’re feeling healthy and well before donating.
Donors wishing to schedule an appointment can go to LifeShare.org. All donors need to bring a form of identification with them when donating. Churches or small businesses wishing to host a drive, can call (318) 215-5250.