Through March 17, nearly 4,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer blood donations nationally. FIND A DRIVE IN YOUR AREA! Here are the most common questions…
Q: The public is being asked to avoid mass gatherings. Aren’t blood drives mass gatherings?
Like a hospital, grocery store, or pharmacy, a blood drive is essential to ensuring the health of the community, and the Red Cross will continue to hold blood drives during this challenging time to help meet patient needs. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general has said, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”
We understand that people have concerns right now about all aspects of public health, but want to stress that donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give. Most blood drives are not considered “mass gatherings” as these are controlled events with trained staff and appropriate safety measures to protect donors and recipients. It’s important to note that at each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection.
Q: Public officials are telling people to stay home, but you’re encouraging people to go out to give blood. Why are you contradicting that guidance?
A: During a crisis, we see the best of humanity when Americans step up and help their neighbors. In the midst of this coronavirus emergency, we are asking people to take this responsibility seriously by practicing social distancing and donating blood. These two activities—which are not mutually exclusive—will go a long way in keeping community members healthy by slowing the spread of the virus and by ensuring that patients across the country receive life saving blood.
We understand that people have concerns right now about all aspects of public health, but want to stress that donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give. It’s important to note that blood drives have highest standards of safety and infection control—and do not fall in the category of “mass gatherings”. We are also spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors and are looking at staggering donor appointments further apart to reduce the number of people at a drive at any one time.