Blood Donations Sink Dangerously Low Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Canceled blood drives and skittish donors are contributing to a massive blood shortage that has collection centers desperate for donations

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Blood collection centers are raising concerns that the nation’s blood supply is dangerously low.

“I've been in blood banking for over 40 years and this is the worst shortage I’ve seen. It's unprecedented,” said Eva Quinley, regional director for Vitalant, a blood collection center with 17 locations throughout the Chicago area.

The American Red Cross is sounding the alarm as well.

“We've had 2,700 fewer blood drives since this situation started, resulting in 86,000 fewer blood donations across the country,” said Joy Squier, chief communications and marketing officer for the Chicago and Northern Illinois region of the American Red Cross.

Many blood drives have been canceled over coronavirus concerns, but collection centers insist donating blood is safe.

“We don't know of any cases that have been spread by blood,” Quinley said.

Both Vitalant and the American Red Cross say new safety precuations are in place to protect donors and staff. 

“We're checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering the drive to make sure they're healthy," Squier said. "We're providing hand sanitizer throughout the drive, spacing beds so that social distancing practices apply."

As we face one health crisis, blood collections centers are urging eligible donors to prevent another one, by coming forward.

“We're hoping during this coronavirus virus emergency that people come out and help their neighbors. True heroes are the ones who come out for the community and we have a lot of true heroes in our community,” Squier said.

To make an appointment with Vitalant, click here.

To find an American Red Cross blood drive, click here.

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