Leaders of Community Blood Services of Illinois (CBSI) and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital are calling on blood donors to step forward in support of the local blood supply. The need is being driven by increasing levels of activity at local hospitals and a high number of blood drive cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with CBSI, is hosting a blood drive on Tuesday, June 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in St. Anthony’s Auditorium, located at 503 North Maple Street in Effingham, IL. Donors should enter the hospital through the Pre-Surgical entrance door on the north side of the hospital, as the hospital’s front entrance remains closed at this time.
All donors MUST make an appointment, no walk-ins. To schedule a donation time, call CBSI at 866-GIVE-BLD (800-217-4483) or log on to www.bloodcenter.org. All donors will also be required to wear a face covering/mask and present a photo ID.
“In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we’re taking extra precautions to keep our donors, volunteers and employees safe and healthy,” said Jim Watts, Manager, Donor Relations for CBSI. “We are entering a period of critical need. Do not get me wrong; we always need blood, but this time it is different – it is critical.”
A blood donor can give every eight weeks, or up to six times a year. Everyone ages 17 and up (or 16 with a signed parental permission form) who weigh at least 110 lbs. and are in good health meet the basic eligibility requirements for blood donation. A full list of donor eligibility guidelines may be found at http://www.bloodcenter.org/donate-blood/donating-blood/donor-eligibility.aspx.
CBSI projects it will lose nearly 20,000 donations from cancelled blood drives between March and August of this year. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations that host mobile blood drives have been forced to cancel or postpone events due to temporary closures, work from home policies, and other factors,” said Amanda Hess, CBSI Director, Donor and Public Relations. In March and April, hospitals reduced patient care options to prioritize response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By postponing elective surgeries, demand for blood components dropped by approximately 40% compared with normal levels. But increasing levels of activity at local hospitals has increased the demand for blood.
“We are now supporting additional patient care options we had previously postponed, such as joint replacement and other elective surgery,” said St. Anthony’s Laboratory Manager Susan Faber. “And we have seen continued use of blood components for trauma, urgent surgery, and other critical care throughout the pandemic.”
To maintain a safe, hygienic environment at Donor Centers and blood drives:
All staff and donors are now required to wear a face covering while inside Donor Centers or participating in a mobile blood drive. Paper masks will be provided for those who arrive without their own mask or facial covering.
Donors are now required to make appointments for donation. To maintain social distancing and appropriate donor flow, walk-ins will only be accepted when an appointment slot is available.
Potential donors who are experiencing any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection or who have recently had exposure to the virus are asked to refrain from donation.
Prior to donation, donors are screened for symptoms of illness (body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level all are checked, and the donor completes a pre-donation Donor History Questionnaire).
When possible, donors are asked to complete the Donor History Questionnaire online on the same day as their donation (see www.bloodcenter.org/EarlyQ)
Staff have added space between chairs in screening areas and in the post-donation refreshment area. Between donations, staff wipe down chairs and surfaces to maintain a safe, hygienic environment.