DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – While a large segment of healthcare professionals and volunteers are currently fighting the novel coronavirus, there is another segment still fighting the same battle.
Collecting blood to save lives.
A local business is joining that fight.
James Drugs Store, located in Denham Springs, will host community blood drives over the next two weeks.
The first blood drive will be held on Wednesday, April 15, followed by the second blood drive on Wednesday, April 22. Both will run from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 245 Florida Avenue SE, located next door to James Drug Store.
The blood drive is being held in conjunction with Vitalant, the nation’s second-largest community blood service provider that supplies comprehensive transfusion medicine services for nearly 1,000 hospitals and healthcare partners for patients in 40 states, according to its website.
And as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the country, community blood drives may be more important than ever, Vitalant Senior Vice President Cliff Numark said in a statement.
The coronavirus has significantly impacted the U.S. blood supply as Vitalant and other blood centers cope with stabilizing blood inventories to meet patients’ transfusion needs. Donations have declined as blood drives have been canceled and fewer individuals have made donations while practicing social distancing to combat spread of the coronavirus.
Since the coronavirus pandemic started, Vitalant has had nearly 2,000 blood drives cancelled — resulting in more than 57,000 uncollected blood donations.
“Our challenge will remain for weeks, if not months,” Numark said. “We need donors to make appointments today for these future dates, as we will struggle to replace donations as blood drives continue to cancel. You can help patients by making an appointment today for a date in the future and, of course, by keeping your appointment.”
Blood banks are encouraging healthy residents to continue donating blood to combat diminishing supplies nationwide. Donating blood is safe, Numark said, and the novel coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process.
However, Vitalant asks those who are not feeling well to not donate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood as it is an essential activity, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, all blood types and components are needed, especially type O blood donations, the universal blood type that ER doctors reach for first to stabilize patients before their blood type is known.