Hundreds of blood drives have been canceled because of escalating concerns regarding coronavirus. These cancellations will result in the loss of thousands of blood units, but blood can’t wait. Blood donation is safe and critical to preventing a blood shortage. Local patients need life-saving blood now more than ever.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is hosting upcoming blood drives. Donors are encouraged to give blood at one of these locations, and appointments are strongly encouraged to aid with social distancing:
Walmart Sallisaw: Friday, April 3, 1:30-5:30 p.m.
NHS Sequoyah: Tuesday, April 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the bloodmobile.
OBI depends on 1,200 donors per day to support the inventory needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.
“Blood is a perishable product and we need constant donations not only to meet our community needs, but in case of local and national emergencies,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI’s president and CEO. “We urge healthy adults to donate blood so that the crucial supply can be maintained for our local patients who depend on blood products during treatment for cancer, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions.”
OBI’s donor centers and mobile blood drives have instituted additional cleaning methods, decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently. In addition, donor centers and mobile blood drives are being adapted to allow for social distancing. All staff and donors will also have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility to ensure only healthy individuals are present.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute is following recommendations and guidelines set forth by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks). OBI is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion.
The FDA reports no cases of COVID-19 transmitted through blood transfusion, and respiratory viruses generally are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion.
Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling Greg at (479) 652-2362 or visiting obi.org. More information on Oklahoma Blood Institute can be found at obi.org.
Please note that 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission to donate; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds to donate; 18-year-olds must weigh at least 110 pounds to donate.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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