The Red Cross Needs Blood; Here Is How You Can Help

March 25, 2020
Categories: 

Right now, the American Red Cross has an ongoing critical need for blood product donations as uncertainties remain during this coronavirus pandemic. Blood drives continue to be canceled at an alarming rate and patients need a sufficient blood supply throughout the many weeks of this crisis and beyond. Healthy individuals are needed to schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead to help patients counting on lifesaving blood, platelets or AB Elite plasma.

Giving blood is considered an essential community service. As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, healthy individuals can still donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations. The Red Cross also urges organizations to maintain scheduled blood drives. Donating is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood or platelets. We have implemented additional precautions to ensure safety of our donors and staff.

This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients fighting cancer. One of the most important things you can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of coronavirus is make an appointment to donate.

**Appointments can be made by Clicking Here to find a blood drive near you.**

 

The top priority of the Red Cross is the safety of donors, volunteers, employees and blood recipients, and they are committed to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency. There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus.

Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood, platelets, or AB Elite plasma. 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.

At each blood drive or donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols, including:    

  • Wearing gloves and changing them often
  • Wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection
  • Using sterile collection sets for every donation
  • Preparing the arm for donation with aseptic scrub
  • Conducting donor mini-physicals to ensure donors are healthy and well on day of donation 


The Red Cross has also increased their vigilance concerning some of these safety protocols including: 

  • Enhanced disinfecting of equipment  
  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment 
  • Temperature checks before presenting donors enter the blood drive or donation center 
  • Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between donors
  • During this time, blankets typically used by platelet, Power Red and AB Elite donors at Red Cross blood donation centers will be laundered after each use, which may limit the availability. Donors are encouraged to bring their own blankets, but electric blankets and heating pads are not permitted.
  • To ensure their staff are healthy each day, they have implemented standard staff health assessments prior to all blood drives.  
  • Finally, only eligible and healthy people are allowed to give blood.  


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.