Updated: August 14, 2020 06:17 PM
In response to low blood supply nationally during COVID-19, the Red Cross is raising awareness on the importance of donating blood now and hosted a blood drive at Miller Hill Mall Thursday and Friday.
The Red Cross said there has been a dangerously low blood supply recently due to blood drive cancellations at the start of COVID-19 and concerns on donating during the health pandemic, but Red Cross staff said it's safe to donate blood and is needed more than ever before.
"Even though there's a pandemic and there's a lot of shutdowns, people are still getting hurt. People are still needing blood transfusions and surgeries so it has been important for people to come out to give," said Lt. Davan Scott, a volunteer and commanding officer of the Twin Ports Division of the U.S. Navy Cadets.
Volunteers from the Twin Ports Division of the U.S. Navy Cadets said donating blood is easy to do and there's new health protocols in place like screening donors for COVID-19 symptoms.
"All the chairs are sanitized as people come in and all the equipment is sanitized. Social distancing is in effect so we try to do the best job we possibly can to make sure everybody has a safe and enjoyable experience," said Scott.
Hospitals like St. Luke's rely on these blood donations to serve a variety of patients like cancer, surgery, and trauma patients.
"We transfuse anywhere from five to 30 units of blood a day depending on our patient needs. We don't ever want a patient to come to St. Luke's that needs a transfusion and for us not to be able to do it in a timely manner," said Jennifer Viergutz, the St. Luke's administrative director of laboratory.
Viergutz said the two most prominent blood types are A positive and O positive. She said they always need O negative because they can give it to anybody in an emergency situation when they don't know a patient's blood type.
"We've had people that have had their life saved by being able to get a blood transfusion," said Viergutz.
"When people are in a life threatening situation or they're having any kind of procedure and they need blood, if it's not available, it's not something that you can easily just make," said Caralynn, a blood donor.
Caralynn said she has been donating blood since high school and enjoys helping the cause as much as she can.
"It doesn't hurt and it's really easy. You can save a life and I'm proof of that. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have blood but I'm happy to donate," said Caralynn.
All blood is getting screened for COVID-19 antibodies. It helps to indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to COVID-19 regardless of whether they developed symptoms. This provides donors insight into whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. Red Cross volunteers said it has been a great incentive for donors.
"Turnout has been phenomenal. So many people have come down to actually donate and it has just been great to see that the Northland has that much support for causes like this," said Scott.
Red Cross staff said they received over 60 units of blood in the two days they hosted the blood drive at the mall. Superior Choice Credit Union sponsored the blood drive.
If you are interested in helping, donation appointments can be made by downloading the Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.
Updated: August 14, 2020 06:17 PM
Created: August 14, 2020 04:04 PM
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