R.I Blood Center in urgent need of donations
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) is calling on healthy blood and platelet donors and community partners to help strengthen the region’s blood supply by maintaining their calendar of upcoming blood drives and keeping donation appointments.
Fifty percent of the center’s blood donations come from blood drives that are hosted by schools, organizations, and businesses. Due to the coronavirus, many of the drives scheduled in March have been canceled. Cancellations pose a significant threat to the blood supply.
Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because blood is perishable, and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf today is the blood needed to help women and newborns during complications with childbirth; people battling cancer or undergoing chemotherapy; people who have suffered trauma or severe burns; people with heart and kidney disease and blood disorders like sickle cell anemia; and individuals who need surgery and organ transplants.
“Every donation at every blood drive and our six centers is critical,” said Beau Tompkins, Senior Executive Director of RIBC. “As healthy, eligible donors, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and our communities to keep the blood supply safe and robust. A resilient healthcare system is more important than ever, and we’re counting on everyone to help maintain that.”
RIBC is seeking to double the blood reserves now so that it can prevent shortages if coronavirus cancellations continue.
It is important to know that donating blood is safe. RIBC staff is trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. They are also regularly cleaning public surfaces and are practicing social distancing among donors.
As always, people are not eligible to donate if they are experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.
Do NOT present to donate if:
1. You have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing).
2. You’ve had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Close contact is defined by CDC as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for a prolonged period of time.
3. You have been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after your illness has resolved.