The American Red Cross greatly appreciates the incredible generosity shown by those who have rolled up a sleeve to donate blood and platelets and scheduled upcoming donation appointments during this coronavirus outbreak. At the Red Cross, we have the privilege to witness people step up to help during times of disaster and crisis. Today is no different. Volunteer blood donors have made it possible for the Red Cross to meet the immediate needs of patients relying on lifesaving blood products.
Unfortunately, during these unprecedented times there is no certain end date in this fight against the coronavirus and this public health crisis appears to be far from over. The Red Cross encourages individuals to keep scheduled blood donation appointments and to make new blood donation appointments for the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic. There remains an ongoing need for platelet donations due to their short, five-day shelf life. It’s important to remember that blood and platelets are perishable and cannot be stockpiled.
Donated blood and platelets are essential in the care of patients relying on lifesaving blood transfusions for surgeries, cancer treatments, car accidents and other emergencies. In accordance with public health guidance, blood donation keeps families safe by contributing to a readily available supply of blood for hospitals.
This is the time to take care of one another. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate mid-April and after by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross has implemented additional precautionary measures out of an abundance of caution, including:
- Checking temperatures of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.
- Following social distancing practices between donors including donor beds, as well as waiting and refreshment areas.
- Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
- Emphasizing the importance of appointments to help manage the flow of donors at drives.
- Staff wearing basic face masks
It’s important to emphasize that at each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection. Standard safety protocols include:
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves often
- Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation, and
- Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.