As coronavirus continues an unprecedented spread throughout the U.S., public concern is growing. Businesses have employees working from home. High schools and universities have closed. Large public gatherings, from conventions to sports events at all levels, have been canceled.
The implications of these actions have put the nation’s blood supply at high risk.
Versiti Blood Centers, which operates nearly 40 blood donation centers and stages thousands of local community blood drives in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, has experienced a sharp decline in individual blood donations in the past few days. More than 2,700 units of blood and more than 100 community blood drives have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Available blood and blood products are at a concerning level for the nearly 250 hospitals that Versiti serves.
“Right now is the time for all healthy donors to donate blood,” said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Abshire. “People need people. We’ve relied on the generosity and compassion of our donors during previous challenging times and we are confident that they will once again answer the call by donating life-saving blood during this unique and unsettled time in human history.”
The donation process itself poses no risk of infecting a donor with coronavirus. “Donors and our blood drive sponsors should be reassured that attending organized blood drives is safe,” Dr. Abshire said. “Coronavirus is currently not known to infect patients through blood transfusions.”
Versiti has implemented increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures in all donor centers and mobile donation units to provide an even safer donation experience.
“We are currently exploring ways we can implement new blood drives at secondary locations to replace the drives that have been canceled by high schools, universities, businesses and other organizations,” Dr. Abshire said. “We need the support of our community to host new blood drives to replace the canceled drives.”
Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.
Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to donate blood. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.
Appointments are encouraged at any of Versiti’s seven donor centers in Indiana and at any local community blood drive. But walk-ins are always welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 317-916-5150 or visit Versiti online at http://www.versiti.org/Indiana.
More than 90,000 Indiana residents each year give blood through Versiti Blood Center of Indiana, formerly Indiana Blood Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1952 that operates blood donation centers in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Greenwood, Lafayette, Terre Haute and Highland. The center also operates thousands of mobile and community blood drives each year throughout the state. Versiti provides a continuous and safe supply of blood and biological services to more than 80 Indiana hospitals and their patients and beyond.