COLORADO — The COVID-19 emergency is creating another kind of urgent healthcare issue. There has been a sharp drop in blood donations. "We try to keep a four-day supply of blood on our shelves at all times,” said Brooke Way with Vitalant Blood Centers, “Right now we are about half, even less than half of that, so we are extremely low."
Visits to donation centers have dropped with people practicing social distancing. With schools closing and businesses telling crews to work from home blood drives are canceling. Nationally there is a significant impact. "Across the blood donation industry as a whole we've seen 4,000 blood drives being canceled,” said Way. Blood drives typically account for around 60% of donations.
Blood collection already requires strict protocols. In response to COVID-19, safety measures increase. Centers like Vitalant have increased screening and sanitation measures. They are also following CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus.
Medical situations requiring urgent surgery cannot t be put on hold to wait out the COVID-19 emergency. If you are healthy you can donate. “We are in an urgent need situation right now,” said Way.
Vitalant and other blood centers have information on-line about donating during the COVID-19 emergency. They are also willing to answer questions and set up appointments with a phone call.