Community in need of blood amid donation cancellations

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - LifeShare Blood Center has seen many blood drives canceled as a result of COVID-19. But the need is still great for blood in the community.

Pixabay / MGN

Here's how you can donate, and what they're doing to keep you safe.

Donors wishing to schedule an appointment can go to LifeShare.org. All donors need to bring a form of identification with them when donating.

Making an appointment can help cut back on crowds. You can also call their Alexandria office at (318) 445-7439 for questions.

Churches or small businesses wishing to host a drive can call (318) 215-5250.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood.” That urgent call-to-action coming from Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from wanting to donate blood. “We need people to prevent the blood supply from getting depleted. We need it not to get to the point that surgeries are having to get canceled. That’s something we absolutely do not want to have happen. To ensure an adequate blood supply we need people to come out and donate blood."

“It is safe to donate blood,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it,” said Giroir.

Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for patients at all times.

LifeShare’s Response:
LifeShare will reinforce and strengthen its highly safe and FDA-regulated blood collection practices during this time. LifeShare maintains several Standard Operation Procedures (SOP’s) to ensure the safety of our blood donors, staff, and the collected blood products. In addition to these already stringent practices, LifeShare is making enhancements to further ensure our donor areas are as low-risk as possible. These include:
Not hosting public blood drives of greater than 50 donors.
Sanitizing donor beds and chairs following each donation.
Stocking additional cleaning and disinfectant supplies as we increase the cleaning of high-touch surfaces in our donor areas.
Reinforcing training procedures to ensure the staff is following proper safety and hygiene procedures.

Reinforcing Safety:
The safety of our donors has always been the most important of LifeShare’s effort to provide the community with lifesaving blood products. The coronavirus outbreak has not changed that.
As a reminder to the community:
LifeShare follows FDA safety regulations to ensure a safe hygienic donation environment.
COVID-19 poses no known risk to blood donors during the donation process.
There are no reports that COVID-19 can be transmitted through a blood transfusion.
Blood donors should be healthy. If you are sick or symptomatic, please wait until you’re feeling healthy and well before donating.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.