Blood is in short supply at the American Red Cross due blood drives throughout the city have been cancelled as limits on public life grow more intense due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The blood shortage could continue to hurt those that have been injured in car crashes, need surgery or are suffering from cancer. So far, 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled across the country as a result of the outbreak, which have resulted in 86,000 fewer donations. About 80 percent of the blood Red Cross collects comes from blood drives.
In the Eastern New York Region, 23 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 674 fewer blood donations. The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give.
As a result, the nonprofit is encouraging people to donate blood, platelets or AB Elite plasma and has taken a set of safety precautions in place:
- 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
- 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.