Coronavirus threatens blood supply


(NBC News) The American Red Cross and blood banks across the nation are putting out an urgent call for donors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the virus spreads and events and businesses close, donations are dropping, dangerously in some areas.

“We are tremendously concerned about a shortage of blood components in the coming days, weeks, and months,” says Curt Bailey of Bloodworks Northwest.
Bloodworks Northwest serves Oregon as well as Washington, one of the states most impacted by coronavirus. In ten days some 2,500 donations went uncollected due to canceled blood drives and donor appointments.
“We kicked our messaging into high gear out in the community and we were very, very clear that the blood supply was at risk of collapse. And that message was heard,” Bailey says.
Donors and bloodbanks in other regions helped make up the deficit for now, but it’s an early warning of what can happen during a pandemic. The American Red Cross is urging healthy people in less affected areas to donate as soon and as often as possible. 

It, and other organizations, are also stepping up safety measures at donations sites and drives, taking donor temperatures and adding screening questions about possible contact with COVID-19 patients.   Those who have traveled to certain countries are asked to hold off on donating for 28 days out of “an abundance of caution” even though there’s no evidence coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS, and COVID-19, can be transmitted via blood transfusion. 

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