Red Cross Urges Healthy Individuals To Give Blood Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Below is a press release from the American Red Cross, which first appeared on Wicked Local Wilmington:

Note: In response to concerns about the coronavirus, area events may be subject to cancellation, postponement or attendance limits. Please contact organizers to confirm event details.

BOSTON, MA — The American Red Cross strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, rise in the U.S.

Cold and flu season has already impacted the nation’s ability to maintain its blood supply. As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., the number of people eligible to give blood for patients in need could decrease further.

“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, Red Cross Blood Services president. “As fears of coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”

Those interested in donating can make an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting http://RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood donors with type O blood and all platelet donors are especially needed right now.

The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation — and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at http://RedCrossBlood.org. At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.

There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, from a transfusion.

Nonetheless, the Red Cross has implemented new blood donation deferrals out of an abundance of caution. Individuals are asked to postpone their donation for 28 days following:

– Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea.

– Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus.

As the situation evolves, the Red Cross will continue to evaluate all emerging risks in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and industry partners to determine if additional intervention strategies are needed.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Middlesex County:

Arlington

March 23: 2-7 p.m., Arlington Knights of Columbus, 15 Winslow St.

Belmont

March 31: 1-6 p.m., Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave.

Burlington

March 22: 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Lahey Clinic, 41 Mall Road

March 24: 1-7 p.m., American Legion Burlington, 162 Winn St.

March 27: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Lahey Clinic, 41 Mall Road

March 31: 1-7 p.m., American Legion Burlington, 162 Winn St.

Cambridge

March 20: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Harvard Law School-Wasserstein Building, 1585 Massachusetts Ave.

Framingham

March 23: 2-7 p.m., MetroWest Medical Center, 85 Lincoln St.

March 26: 2-7 p.m., Framingham Plymouth Church, 87 Edgell Road

Lexington

March 25: 2-7 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 177 Bedford St.

March 31: 2-7 p.m., Avalon at Lexington Hills, 1000 Main Campus Drive

Lowell

March 20: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., University Of Massachusetts O’Leary Library, 61 Wilder St.

March 27: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., University of Massachusetts, 327 Aiken St., University Suites Room 106

Malden

March 23: 2-7 p.m., Saint Joseph’s Church, 790 Salem St.

Medford

March 24: 2-7 p.m., Planet Fitness-Medford, 686 Fellsway Plaza

Melrose

March 29: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Wyoming Lodge Masonic Temple, 326 Main St.

March 30: 2-7 p.m., VFW, 428 Main St.

Newton

March 25: 2-7 p.m., Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St.

March 29: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Temple Beth Avodah, 45 Puddingstone Lane

North Chelmsford

March 28: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Congregational Church of North Chelmsford, 15 Princeton St.

Reading

March 25: 2-7 p.m., Good Samaritan Lodge, AF & AM, 110 Haven St.

Tewksbury

March 19: 2-7 p.m., Elk Lodge, 777 South St.

Tyngsboro

March 27: 1-6 p.m., Progress Fitness Center, 11 Progress Ave.

Wakefield

March 20: 2-7 p.m., First Congregational Church, One Church St.

Waltham

March 26: 12-5 p.m., CBRE/New England, 200 Fifth Ave.

Watertown

March 21: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Watertown Police Department, 552 Main St.

Winchester

March 30: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Winchester Hospital, 41 Highland Ave.

Blood donation process

A blood donation takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes about eight to 10 minutes. Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass. With RapidPass, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass, follow the instructions at http://RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

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