In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, blood donation centers are facing a shortage of donors.
Susan Forbes, a OneBlood spokeswoman, said that in the past week, over 1,900 OneBlood drives have been canceled through May, resulting in a loss of over 30,000 donations. She said the cancelations are due to businesses and schools closing or limiting access to staff only.
Forbes said that all sanitary precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of donors, including disinfecting all donor-touched areas like beds and blood pressure cuffs and limiting the number of people on a donation bus at a time. She also said donors receive temperature checks and health screenings before being allowed to donate.
“It’s a challenge to ensure a ready blood supply under normal circumstances. It’s even more challenging now, in light of the coronavirus,” Forbes said.
Laura Bialeck, a LifeSouth Community Blood Centers spokeswoman, said that LifeSouth supplies all of the hospitals in Gainesville with blood. She said LifeSouth has had over 100 blood drives canceled in the past week.
“The real challenge is finding places where the bloodmobiles can go out every day,” Bialeck said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a statement on Thursday reassuring people that blood donation is both safe and needed during this outbreak.