American Red Cross shares important reminder that blood donations are essential to ensuring the health of our communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Blood donations may not be among the first things you think about as an immediate need related to COVID-19. But think again.
As we walk around our homes during these shelter-in-place times wondering what we can do to help, we can make an appointment to give blood.
The American Red Cross has been able to meet immediate patient needs thanks to the many who gave blood over the recent weeks. But during this uncertain time, the Red Cross encourages individuals to keep scheduled blood donation appointments and to make new appointments for the weeks ahead. This will help ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic.
"During a crisis, the Red Cross is fortunate to witness the best of humanity as people roll up a sleeve to help those in need," said Kamenna Lee, vice president, biomedical marketing at the American Red Cross. "There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, and the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come."
Accident victims, cancer patients and those requiring emergency surgery continue to need blood. Yet, blood drives are being cancelled due to office buildings, schools and churches temporarily closing and more people being told to work remotely and practice social distancing. Also, people concerned about the ability to maintain proper distance are reluctant to go give blood.
But the Red Cross wants us to know that they greatly appreciate the generosity of the public to help stock hospital shelves for patients in need.
"We want to emphasize that we have implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety at each blood drive and donation center," Lee said.
"A blood drive is essential to ensuring the health of the community, and the Red Cross will continue to hold blood drives during this challenging time to help meet patient needs," Lee added.
Furthermore, blood drives maintain high standards of safety and infection control during normal times and have added even more to alleviate public concerns.
"We are spacing beds, staggering appointments and taking temperatures of donors before they enter," said Lee. "We also want to emphasize that blood drives are controlled events with trained staff and very high health and safety measures."
Perhaps most important is the U.S. Surgeon General's statement encouraging healthy people to give blood: "Social distancing does not mean social disengagement."
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration all encourage blood donation by those who are well.
"This is a time to take care of one another—if you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate in weeks to come," Lee said.
Below is a list of ongoing safety protocols followed by staff at every blood drive and donation center:
- Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering the drive
- Providing hand sanitizer for use through out the donation process
- Following social distancing practices
- Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment
- Securing basic face masks for staff in close proximity with donors for prolonged periods of time
Make an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Company Fund and its dealerships represent, as a group, one of the top five blood donors to the Red Cross. As a member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, Ford Fund makes an annual contribution of $500,000 to ensure that the Red Cross is prepared to respond to worldwide emergencies.