Concern about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has led to an unprecedented amount of blood drive cancellations throughout the country, creating a “severe” blood shortage, according to the American Red Cross.
In an effort to address this critical issue, Troy University’s Office of Student Involvement is teaming with the American Red Cross for a blood drive Tuesday, March 24 and Wednesday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Trojan Center Ballrooms.
Donors should pre-register at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=troyu to reserve a time.
In a White House press conference Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged Americans to give blood, emphasizing that donating blood is safe even in the current environment.
“As an emergency preparedness organization, the Red Cross has also taken additional steps to ensure the safety of staff and donors at each Red Cross blood drive,” said Elizabeth Hutchinson, senior account manager for American Red Cross Biomedical Services.
Among the precautions being taken:
- The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org.
- The Red Cross is now pre-screening all individuals by checking their temperature before they enter any Red Cross blood drive or donation center, including staff and volunteers.
- At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols, including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
- Additional spacing has been implemented within each blood drive set up to incorporate social distancing measures between donation beds and stations within the blood drive.
“As of March 18, we’ve had over 300 blood drives, representing over 120,000 blood donations, cancelled,” Hutchinson said. “We need your help ensuring we have a sufficient blood supply to support hospital patients in Alabama and across the country.”
Barbara Patterson, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, said TROY felt an obligation to answer the Red Cross’ call during this crisis.
“This is the right thing for us to do,” Patterson said. “We want to ensure the community that this is a safe event, and we also want to encourage them to come to the Trojan Center and help if they can. The Red Cross explained to us the need for this, and it is very real.”