Blood donations urgently needed to combat nationwide shortage caused by COVID-19

Blood donations urgently needed to combat nationwide shortage caused by COVID-19

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The coronavirus is impacting many aspects of life, and one industry in particular is in dire need of help, and that’s the blood donation industry.

Giving blood doesn’t take long and it literally can save lives.

Officials said we are in a severe critical shortage of blood. More than 6,000 blood drives across the country have been canceled resulting in more than 200,000 lost blood donations. At Cascade Hills Church Student Center along Highway 80 in Columbus, you can donate blood that may one day save a life.

Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion, and one blood donation can save up to three lives.

Officials from the American Red Cross said the coronavirus is causing a severe, critical shortage of blood donations.

“The red Cross has had more than 6,000 blood drives canceled which equals just under 200,000 uncollected units of blood," Adelaide Kirk said.

Then thousand of the lost blood donations are in Georgia. Kirk said blood is used in many essential ways, including surgery, cancer treatments, trauma, and more.

“If we don’t replenish the shelves and the blood supply, decisions will have to be made about which surgeries can happen and which ones can’t happen and that’s what we don’t want to get to," Kirk said.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at Cascade Hills Church in Columbus, the Red Cross is setting up shop and collecting blood.

“During a time of crisis, it is especially important for people to be donating blood. So, we wanted to partner with the American Red Cross and open our facilities to provide a place for people to come and give," said Tabitha Heath with Cascade Hills Church.

Appointments are filling up fast, but Kirk said it’s going to take a long time to get back to full supply.

“If you’ve given blood in the last few days, go ahead and mark your calendar eight weeks when you’re eligible to give again. You’ll need to give again. It’s going to take us that long to build back up our reserves," Kirk said.

If you’re worried about safety, Kirk said giving blood is safe. They’re even adding precautions like keeping chairs six feet apart and taking the temperature of each person who comes into the donation area.

“This is essential that we have people give blood, so there is blood available in hospitals when they need it,” Kirk said.

They are taking walk-ins here but they’re urging people to go online to book an appointment. On Monday, all spots filled up and the goal is for the same thing to happen the next few days.

The blood you donate could save your life or your family member’s life in a time of need.

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