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Stories and information in our region on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Red Cross Warns Of Blood Shortage As Coronavirus Fears Cancel Drives

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COVID-19 has closed 3,000 blood drives across the country, leading to what the Red Cross is calling a severe shortage in blood donations. Donors are anxious, locations are scarce and blood suppliers are trying to calm fears.

A big problem here is that most of places that host blood drives – large companies, schools – are closed. Over the last two weeks, 46 donation events have been canceled in the state of Connecticut. Kelly Isenor with the Connecticut Red Cross is scrambling to find large spaces where they can safely take donations.

“As some sites cancel, we’re looking for places to hold these blood drives just to be sure we can constantly collect new blood as it’s in demand.”

The other problem is donor dropout. Blood centers are aggressively trying to calm public fears that donating blood could expose them to the coronavirus. Donation beds have been spaced at a greater distance, and hand sanitizer is wildly available.

“We’ve put in additional safety protocols. For example, before you are even allowed into the room where the blood drive is happening, our staff or volunteer is going to be taking temperatures.”

This includes both donors and staff.

The CDC says there is a slight possibility of transmission by people who have the virus but do not have a fever.

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