As Dallas-Fort Worth focuses on preventing the spread of coronavirus, the nation’s blood supply is at an all-time low due to blood drive cancelations. The result could be catastrophic.
“This is really an unprecedented situation,” says Jan Hale of The American Red Cross. “The continued impacts on our blood supply in the coming weeks may lead to delays in essential medical care.”
Highly vulnerable patients are most at risk, such as those who have sustained life-threatening injuries, are undergoing surgeries, or are in treatment for long-term medical conditions. Though community blood drives are being canceled, you can donate independently at a blood donation facility. Blood drives are considered ‘essential infrastructure’ under the new Shelter in Place mandate.
“We are highly recommending that donors make appointments,” says Hale. This helps the facilities prepare for each drive and control the number of donors in the space.
“To ensure we don’t have another healthcare crisis, one of the most important things you can do is give blood.”Jan Hale
New safety precautions have been established, such as checking the temperature of staff and donors before they enter the drive, spacing beds where possible to encourage distance between donors, and increased disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
The donation process itself has been deemed safe. The FDA recently released a letter detailing the blood supply issue in relation to COVID-19, saying, “The potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by blood and blood components is unknown at this time. However, respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.”
If you are healthy and feeling well, consider making an appointment to donate this week. Use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RedCross (1-800-733-2767).
To donate, you must be 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in Texas), weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in generally good health. Donors 18 years of age or younger are subject to additional height and weight requirements. You’ll be asked to postpone your donation for 28 days if you have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, Italy or South Korea, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have interacted with someone who has (or is suspected to have) the virus.