The Summerland Advocate-Messenger - Reliable, Trustworthy Reporting, Capturing The Heartbeat Of Our Community

By LuAnn Schindler

Severe blood shortage due to COVID-19 outbreak

Orchard blood drive draws donors


March 26, 2020

Mike Tabbert

A Red Cross phlebotomist checks the output as Aaron Hoke donates blood at a blood drive, March 17, in Orchard. Drawing one pint of blood takes approximately six to 10 minutes.

The need for blood donations is always present.

According to Governor Pete Ricketts, approximately 4,000 blood drives across the country have been canceled since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a call to action Monday afternoon, requesting healthy and able individuals donate blood.

"If you want to contribute, please visit and make an appointment in advance. This will help manage the influx of incoming donors and ensure social distancing measures are maintained," Adams wrote in a Twitter post.

Without adequate donations, the blood supply will deplete.

Ricketts echoed Adams. "I urge healthy Nebraskans to help the Red Cross and their neighbors by setting an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible

Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said, "It is safe to donate blood."

Mike Tabbert

Dale Rabbass donates blood during a March 17 blood drive at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Orchard. Once the draw is complete, the phlebotomist removes the needle and elevates the donation armand apply pressure to promote clotting.

Donation centers and organizations follow Federal Drug Administration guidelines.

According to Red Cross officials, "there are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus.

At blood drives, workers wear gloves and change them often, clean donor-touched areas after every collection and use sterile collection kits.

Since the coronavirus has spread, personnel also have added increased disinfecting equipment, provide hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment, offer temperature checks and increased spacing between donor checkpoints.


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