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Donating blood critical during pandemic

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

Many aspects of life are currently revolving around the coronavirus pandemic.

A lot of people are spending increasing amounts of time indoors due to their inability to congregate in most places these days due to government response to the issue.

While social activity has been on the decline, another area that has seen a dip in participation is blood donations.

The American Red Cross, LifeSouth and other blood collection services issued a joint statement earlier this month asking people to donate during this time of potential crisis.

The next chance for residents to donate in Chilton County will be March 28 at Walmart in Clanton.

A LifeSouth bloodmobile will be there from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

“We need people to prevent the blood supply from getting depleted. We need it not to get to the point that surgeries are having to get canceled. That’s something we absolutely do not want to have happen. To ensure an adequate blood supply we need people to come out and donate blood.”

According to the statement, the coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.

“It is safe to donate blood,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it.”

Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for patients at all times.

The FDA reiterates that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood transfusions.