Bloodworks Northwest says the Pacific Northwest’s blood supply is at risk of collapse and sends a plea for donors to step up and give blood.
It takes 1,000 donors showing up every day at a donor center or blood drive to keep the community’s blood supply at stable levels during normal times, Bloodworks officials say.
Red Cross officials say that cold and flu season has already impacted the nation’s blood supply that’s needed for accident and trauma victims, cancer patients and premature babies. As the number of COVID-19 cases rise, the number of healthy people eligible to give blood decreases further.
Blood drives have been canceled because of schools, events and businesses closing due to concerns about the coronavirus. This has put nearly 60% of the community’s blood supply in jeopardy, said Curt Bailey, CEO and president of Bloodworks Northwest.
“Without available blood, doctors will have to make life or death decisions about who receives blood and who doesn’t,” said Vicki Finson, executive vice president of blood services. “We know that fears of the coronavirus are threatening our blood supply, but even scarier is the idea that we won’t have enough blood for people who desperately need it. We need donors to keep their appointments and for blood drive sponsors to keep hosting drives.”
Both Bloodworks and Red Cross officials assure the public that donating blood is a safe. The organizations clean donation areas, chairs and any surfaces that are touched. Staff, donors and volunteers are encouraged to stay home if they feel unwell.
Blood donations are welcome from people who are feeling healthy, have no symptoms and haven’t been in contact with those diagnosed with COVID-19.
“We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “The last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”