Need for blood donors will last for weeks

The nation’s blood supply will be in jeopardy as long as normal donation patterns are disrupted by coronavirus concerns.

COVID Drive2The nation’s blood supply issues are not going to end until the lifestyle changes forced upon Americans from the novel coronavirus end. While authorities are rightly urging people to stay home, the need for blood is also real and significant. The University of Alabama at Birmingham and local blood collection agencies, along with the surgeon general, the CDC and the FDA, are urging those who are healthy to donate blood, while maintaining safe social distancing.

“The response from the community to our blood appeal has been amazing — thank you for your patience and perseverance,” said Marisa Marques, M.D., medical director of Transfusion Services at UAB. “The need for blood will continue throughout the disruption caused by the novel coronavirus. We will need blood donations next week, the week after and every week that our normal lives are affected by this epidemic. Encourage your friends and family who are healthy to donate to avoid dangerous shortages in the weeks to come.”

UAB is working with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers on a blood drive this week at 3419 Colonnade Parkway, #400. Donors must register for an appointment, and prior issues with the appointment process have been resolved. The drive runs from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. every day through Friday, March 27. Plans are in progress for additional drives over the coming weeks, and more information will be forthcoming.

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Donors must go online to schedule an appointment to help ensure that other donors and staff are protected. Appointments can be made at LifeSouth. Safe distancing will be observed, and appointments will limit the number of people donating at any one time. Donating blood is safe, and donation staff are appropriately disinfecting all surfaces at the donor locations. 

The American Red Cross is also accepting blood donors by appointment at their donation locations. 

“In the weeks ahead, we are asking for all citizens in our region to give the gift of life if they are healthy and able to do so,” Marques said.