Agencies that coordinate blood drives across Long Island are imploring people to make appointments to donate as these essential community events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
New York Blood Center (NYBC), an independent, community-based, nonprofit blood center, has alerted partners that it has canceled all remote location blood drives through April 30, causing many scheduled blood drives across the Island to be postponed.
But agencies say that blood is still urgently needed.
Dr. Peter Marks, a director at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said that the number of blood donations has dramatically fallen off due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives.
According to Dr. Marks, every two seconds, a patient in the US needs a blood transfusion.
He said that maintaining adequate levels of our nation’s blood supply is critical and equates people who donate blood to those who are working in essential services.
“In volunteering to do so, they are contributing immeasurably to the public health of our nation,” Dr. Marks said in a statement. “In order to ensure that blood is available to those who need it most, it is important for healthy individuals who are able to donate to take the time to do so.”
He said that blood donation centers are skilled in infection control practices and already have procedures in place to prevent the spread of infections.
In a statement, Dr. Christopher D. Hillyer, President and CEO of NYBC said they are extending open hours at donor centers and requests that healthy donors make appointments to help maintain the region’s blood supply.
“Around 75% of our incoming blood supply was interrupted when schools, businesses and religious institutions closed due to the coronavirus outbreak,” Dr. Hillyer went on to say. “In response, we’ve increased capacity at our donor centers by extending hours and opening for extra days each week. These modifications will provide controlled, safe environments for healthy donors. In addition, the US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams encourages people to donate blood during the coronavirus crisis: You'll feel good about it, and you'll be helping your country and community during this crisis. And you might even save a life."
Dr. Hillyer explained that blood is perishable and the supply must be continually replenished.
At this time NYBC said that it is only taking donors by appointment. You can call or text NYBC at (800) 933-2566 or find a donor center by clicking here.
The NYBC warns that you should not donate blood if you have:
- A fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing)
- Had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days. NOTE: Close contact is defined by CDC as being within 6 ft of an infected individual for a prolonged period of time
- Been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after your illness has resolved
The FDA also provided these resources: