The American Red Cross is encouraging people to keep their scheduled blood donations and continue making appointments for the weeks ahead amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no 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,” Christine Welch, spokeswoman for the Red Cross, told the News-Press in an email.
The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers remain safe for both donors and staff. Some of the measures include:
- Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.
- Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.
- Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow safety protocols that includes: wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor; wiping down areas that have been frequently used; using sterile collection sets for every donation; and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
“There is no data or 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,” Ms. Welch said.
To schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Interested parties can also download the Red Cross Blood Donor mobile application.
There are several local donation opportunities planned for next month, including 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6 at the American Red Cross, 2707 State St. in Santa Barbara.
Another drive will be held from noon to 7 p.m. April 9 at the same location. A third drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Montecito Family YMCA, 591 Santa Rosa Lane.
Donors must bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check in. Donors must be at least 18, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. High school students and other donors younger than 18 must meet certain height and weight requirements and have parental consent where allowed.
To learn more about the donation process or find upcoming events, visit www.redcross.org.