The Highland Fire House partnered with The American Red Cross to host a blood drive on Thursday, March 26, from 12-5 p.m.
There are nearly 300,000 fewer blood donations due to the coronavirus and Red Cross is urging blood drive hosts to continue scheduled blood drives wherever possible. Over 9,000 blood drives have been canceled and Red Cross is searching for new locations where people can give.
“We greatly appreciate the generosity of the public to help stock hospital shelves for patients in need,” Aly Barraza, Communication Program Director for the Red Cross, said. “The Red Cross needs the help of blood donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come.”
At the Highland blood drive 51 donors were registered to donate, and they collected 49 units of blood which can impact 147 lives. People who wished to donate blood could register and make an appointment online. All online appointments were filled and the drive saw a lot of walk-ins as well.
“I am so proud of our community members who came out to generously and selflessly donate blood to help the patients in the hospital,” Susan Sommer, the account manager for the Mid-Hudson Valley said.
Though people are encouraged to stay indoors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital patients still need blood, and it’s important to The Red Cross to find safe ways that still allows people to donate.
“One of the most important things people can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of the coronavirus is to give blood,” Barraza said. “Without continued blood and platelet donations, patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer could be impacted.”
At all Red Cross blood drive and donation centers the Red Cross employees already followed the highest standards of safety and infection control, and now additional precautions have been implemented to ensure the safety of donors and staff.
Red Cross employees have started checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering the drive to make sure they are healthy. Hand sanitizer is now being provided before entering the drive and throughout the donation process. The Red Cross has also increased enhanced disinfecting of surfaces, and emphasizes the importance of appointments to help manage the flow of donors.
The Red Cross is also looking into staggering donor appointments further apart to lower the amount of people at the drive at any one time. All of these precautions are being put in place to make sure blood drives are still possible while keeping everyone safe.
“Healthy individuals are needed to donate in the days and weeks ahead to help patients counting on lifesaving blood,” Barraza said. “The need for blood is constant, and counter donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.”