The American Red Cross held a blood drive inside the municipal building Thursday and Friday with hopes of combating the extreme shortage of whole blood in the nation.
The Red Cross holds thousands of drives throughout the United States, but with the coronavirus spreading rapidly they have been forced to close as many as 4,500 scheduled drives.
Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak a March 19 press release said. These cancellations have resulted in some 150,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80% of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at locations of this type. Here in Kansas, 19 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 728 fewer blood donations. The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give.
“It’s extremely important right now,” said Scott Williamson, team supervisor for the Central Plains Biomedical Services of the American Red Cross. “We’re losing drives on a daily basis. With everything going on with the coasts we’re also making the difference on what we collect here to help those that are in need. We have the Power Red machines at this drive here in Junction City. Power Reds, you get two donations out of those, and they can go out to be used for major trauma, babies, infants, things like that. And then we also collect whole blood today too and tomorrow.”
Williamson said all donors are screened prior to signing in. From there they complete their paperwork, get a quick health history and are off to donate. The process can be sped up, especially for walk-ins, if they use the American Red Cross 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 a release said. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
“In our experience, the American public comes together to support those in need during times of shortage and that support is needed now more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Unfortunately, when people stop donating blood, it forces doctors to make hard choices about patient care, which is why we need those who are healthy and well to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life.”
The next drive is scheduled for April 1 and 2 on Fort Riley, April 27 at Valley View Senior Living and April 30 at Cloud County Community College Building D, 631 Caroline Ave. A complete list of future dates can be found online, www.redcrossblooddrive.org on on the American Red Cross Donor App.
“If you’re healthy, it’s really important that if you can spare some time to come in to donate,” Williamson said. “It’s extremely important, we are helping to provide that blood nationwide because everyone’s needing to have that in the hospitals.”