The American Red Cross said on Tuesday that it is in need of blood donations from healthy people amid the spread of COVID-19.
The Red Cross said that the cold and flu season has already impacted the nation's ability to maintain its blood supply. The organization is concerned that a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus would cause fewer otherwise healthy individuals to give blood.
The Red Cross said that its process is safe, and that it will take precautions to avoid spreading germs. Red Cross staff will be wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
"We're asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it's critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients," said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. "As fears of the coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most."
Please make an appointment to donate blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Type O and platelet donations are especially needed right now.
To give blood, people can donate once every 56 days, must be in good health and feeling well, be at least age 16, and weigh 110 pounds, depending on height. Those who donate will be asked to produce an ID, and be asked several medical questions.
Whole process takes 10-15 minutes, the Red Cross said.