Community Must Donate Blood To Maintain Blood Supply As Coronavirus Outbreak Continues
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 17, 2020) – As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the United States, Blood Assurance needs the public to schedule and keep donation appointments and organized blood drives to ensure the continued adequacy of the blood supply.
It is imperative that healthy individuals donate to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. Since it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive optimal treatment. Blood centers across the nation, especially in more affected areas, have been experiencing a severe decline in blood donations. Blood Assurance has already experienced a significant loss in potential donors due to the cancellation of at least a dozen blood drives resulting in the loss of over 800 units.
“The safety of our donors and staff is our number priority and we need the public’s help now,” said Dr. Elizabeth Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance. “It is something that can’t wait. Traumas happen unexpectedly and there are patients that can’t wait who will need blood every day.” The FDA is also encouraging people to donate blood to prevent nationwide blood shortages saying in an official statement that people need to “start turning out in force to give blood.”
Blood Assurance is taking steps to ensure the health of its donors and is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak nationally and in its service area. Special protocols are in place including extra cleaning and new travel deferrals. Staff and potential blood donors are all being screened before each blood drive. Individuals are not at risk to contract COVID-19 through blood donation or transfusion. Blood drives are a safe and sanitary environment and are not considered a mass gathering.
Blood Assurance will also be giving away an Echo Dot every week to one randomly chosen donor and one 65” smart T.V. will also be given away at the end of March. All donors over the age of 18 are eligible to win.
Donating whole blood takes about 30 minutes and can impact 3 people in area hospitals. Donors can save time by answering their questions before their appointment with the Blood Assurance QuickScreen app. To download the app, visit bloodassurance.org/quickscreen.
An appointment can be scheduled by phone or online. To schedule an appointment at a donor center or blood drive, please visit www.bloodassurance.org, call 800-962-0628 or text BAGIVE to 999777.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (16 and 17 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
About Blood Assurance
Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components to every area patient in need.