Hospitals concerned about decrease in blood donations amid coronavirus

Hospitals concerned about decrease in blood donations amid coronavirus
Person donates blood. (Source: AP Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Another concern surrounding the Coronavirus is blood donations.

Over the past week, blood centers throughout the country are experiencing a significant drop in donations, putting tremendous stress on hospitals’ blood supply to be adequately replenished.

Blood Centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for patients at all times. The FDA has reiterated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of coronavirus transmitted through blood transfusions and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood transfusions.

“It is safe to donate blood,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it,” said Giroir.

“Respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion and no cases of transfusion-transmitted coronaviruses have been reported,” said Dr. Chris Lough, vice president of medical services for LifeSouth. “The most significant risk to the blood supply posed by COVID-19 is a lack of availability due to a decrease in donations.”

You are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus through the blood donation process, and blood centers everywhere are taking every precaution to minimize the risk to blood donors.

“Blood donors are needed now more than ever. We cannot wait for the situation to intensify further before taking action. The blood supply cannot be taken for granted and the coronavirus only heightens the need for ready blood supply,” said Kate Fry, chief executive officer of America’s Blood Centers, the organization that represents close to 50 blood centers throughout the U.S. and Canada who collect close to 60% of the nation’s blood supply.

Donating blood ensures the community blood supply remains stable as the virus spreads and the ongoing impact of the current flu season affects the number of donors able to give.

“Blood is an essential part of health care and the need for blood is constant,” said Debra BenAvram, CEO of AABB, the association that accredits the majority of blood banks in the United States. “In the United States, a patient is treated with a blood transfusion every two seconds. This is only possible through the generosity of our country’s volunteer blood donors. They are the heroes who make lifesaving treatment a reality,” said BenAvram.

To find a blood drive near you visit lifesouth.org or call 888-795-2707.

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