Red Cross Urgently Seeks More Blood Donations

Amid reports that hundreds of blood drives have been canceled recently as fears about coronavirus risks have increased, the American Red Cross has restated its commitment to the safety of donors, patients, volunteers and staff members.
A Red Cross leader made a plea for blood donations and spoke about safety measures the organization has taken.
“We recognize that this health crisis may create some questions about donating blood at this time,” said American Red Cross Biomedical Services President Chris Hrouda.
He said 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.” The organization’s heightened vigilance includes “enhanced disinfecting of equipment and changing staff gloves between each donor,” Hrouda said.
“To ensure our staff are healthy each day, we have implemented standard staff health assessments prior to all blood drives to ensure staff are feeling well the day of the drive,” he added. “We ask all of those at a donation site — both staff and donors — to use hand sanitizer before entering and throughout the facility or drive as needed.”
The organization also is requesting that people who have traveled to China and special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy or South Korea, postpone donating until 28 days after their return to the U.S. Individuals who have had contact with a person who has the virus, or someone suspected to have it, are also required to postpone donating until 28 days after contact.
Finally, Hrouda said, only eligible and healthy people are allowed to give blood.
“Every donor undergoes a mini-physical to help ensure they are healthy and well on the day of their donation,” he said. “These mitigation measures will help ensure staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this, or any, respiratory infection.
Hrouda asserted that there is “no 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.”
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“If you’re eligible and feeling well, please don’t hesitate to sign up for an appointment.” Hrouda said. “Fewer donors are coming out to give … yet the need for blood and blood products by patients continues.”

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