Over 160 blood drives in Southern California have been canceled due to COVID-19. As a result, the Red Cross has a severe shortage of blood and is asking for the public’s help.
The Red Cross says it receives over 80% of its donations from events held at locations like workplaces and schools, most of which are now closed. According to KTLA, the Red Cross in Southern California saw about 5,500 fewer donations than usual over the last few weeks.
The Red Cross is hoping you can help by donating ASAP. Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross’s Biomedical Medical Services, says that if people stop donating blood, doctors will have to “make hard choices about patient care.”
Hrouda also assures potential donors that, despite COVID-19 fears, it is safe to donate blood at this time. The Red Cross has implemented several safety measures, in addition to the ones they already take, at its donation centers. They include:
- Checking the temperature of staff and donors before they enter to make sure they are healthy
- Providing hand sanitizer
- Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between donors
The Red Cross is also asking those who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea and those who’ve been diagnosed with or who have had contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19 to hold off on donating for 28 days. Otherwise, eligible donors may make an appointment here or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross is also seeking local volunteers to help deliver meals to families and children affected by school closings. Find more info here.