Another Coronavirus Complication: A Severe Shortage Of Blood Donations

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ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Life in the time of coronavirus is anything but normal, and the closures of schools, colleges, and businesses have led to a severe blood shortage for the Red Cross.

Blood drives are typically held in those sites, which are now temporarily shut down to slow down the spread of the virus.

Red Cross spokesperson Jay Bonaefede said 2,700 drives have been canceled nationwide, resulting in 8,600 fewer blood donations. In the Western and Central New York region, he said donations were down by about 700 units as of Sunday, but the situation is so fluid that the Red Cross tracking system hasn’t been able to keep up with the cancellations.

The Red Cross is asking all healthy and eligible adults to consider scheduling an appointment to donate blood. All blood types are needed, but especially the universal O-negative type.

Bonafede said every attempt is made to ensure safety.

“We have screeners who are checking the temperatures of donors and staff to make sure they are healthy,” he said. “We’re providing hand sanitizer, and we’re spacing our beds, wherever possible, several feet apart so we can ensure that there’s that limited contact.”

Donors can make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org, on the Red Cross blood donor app, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)