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Jasper County Tribune

Blood supply a concern in wake of COVID-19 fears

DES MOINES – LifeServe Blood Center, the sole supplier of blood products to more than 120 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, is urging healthy, eligible blood donors to continue donating blood to maintain an adequate blood supply in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The safety and quality of the blood supply is not impacted by COVD-19 as there have been no transmissions of the novel virus through blood transfusion.  Additional donor screening questions asking blood donors to self-defer if they’ve traveled to a country deemed a risk area by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been implemented as an industry-wide precaution to ensure the safety of the community blood supply.

Unfortunately, as COVD-19 is detected in local communities, social distancing is occurring and mobile blood drives, among other public activities and events, are cancelling. More than 70% of the local blood supply is provided by blood donors visiting mobile blood drive events.  Mobile blood drive cancellations and lack of blood donor turnout are already impacting the quantity of the local blood supply.  Additionally, blood centers across the country are experiencing the same challenges which place the country’s overall blood supply at risk.  LifeServe Blood Center is urging healthy individuals, either new or existing blood donors, to give blood now and keep the community blood supply stable.

“The stability of our local blood supply is a concern as we see more and more mobile blood drive cancellations.  While the majority of our community members are healthy and not impacted by COVID-19, fear and social distancing is keeping them away from blood donation sites,” said Christine Hayes, Chief Operating Officer for LifeServe Blood Center. “As a healthcare-type organization, safety is always one of our top priorities. Since only healthy blood donors are eligible to give blood, we believe a blood drive or donor center is a safe place to visit and is necessary to ensure blood will be available for local hospital patients.” 

Healthy donors who have not traveled to any countries deemed risk areas by the CDC and who have not had contact with anyone suspected of having COVID-19 are urged to give blood. Appointments can be made online at www.lifeservebloodcenter.org or by calling 800.287.4903. 

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