T The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help those counting on lifesaving blood, such as cancer patients and accident victims. As the coronavirus pandemic has grown here in the U.S., we have seen blood drive cancellations grow at an alarming rate. As of March 17, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. Workplaces, college campuses and schools are canceling their blood drives as these locations temporarily close and more people are being told to work remotely and practice social distancing. We are expecting cancellations to continue to increase, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country.
We understand why people may be hesitant to come out for a blood drive, but want to assure the public that we have implemented additional safety precautions in response to concern, including: (1) checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy; (2) providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process; (3) spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors; and (4) increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.