By Hayley Crandall
The American Red Cross strongly urges healthy and eligible Wisconsin residents to donate blood to avoid shortages during the coronavirus outbreak, the organization announced in a statement earlier last week.
Red Cross encourages blood and platelet donations during this time to maintain a steady blood supply. It is especially asking donors with O type blood and platelet to consider donating.
Blood donation opportunities will be held across the state of Wisconsin until mid-April.
The cold and flu season has already hurt the nation’s blood supply, according to the Red Cross, and could decrease further as the number of coronavirus cases grow.
“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, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “The last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”
There has been no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread through blood transfusions, according to the Red Cross, but the organization has adopted new guidelines during the pandemic out of an “abundance of caution.”
These new guidelines ask individuals to hold off on donating for at least 28 days if they have traveled to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea or if he or she has been diagnosed or been in contact with someone with COVID-19.
The Red Cross assures its employees follow a set safety protocol at all donation centers and blood drives. Employees routinely wipe down frequently touched areas, sterilize all tools before use on each donor, and use aseptic scrub to clean the arm before donating, according to the organization. These efforts help to assure all parties safety during the pandemic.
Blood drive hosts also play an important role during this time, the organization said in its statement, and are asked to keep hosting blood drives since the need for blood is “constant.”
Blood drive hosts and their donors help ensure the availability of blood across the U.S. for a variety of patients, according to the Red Cross.
“Keep giving, keep hosting blood drives,” said Hrouda. “Patients across the country need our help.”
The blood donation process takes an hour, with the actual donation itself only taking about 10 minutes. Minutes can be saved by RapidPass, an online forum set up through the Red Cross to help donors fill out necessary information before their donation appointment. Donors need to present a driver’s license or blood donor card at check-in.
To donate, the Red Cross asks people to make an appointment on the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Listed below are the blood donation opportunities in Milwaukee:
3/26/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., MacDowell Montessori School, 6415 W Mt Vernon Ave.
4/2/2020: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Milwaukee Academy of Science, 2000 W Kilbourn
4/3/2020: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Ronald Reagan High School, 4965 S 20th St
4/3/2020: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Loving Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3909 W Clinton Ave