American Red Cross hosting drive to help COVID-19 blood shortage

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The American Red Cross states every two seconds, someone in the country needs blood, but the pandemic has impacted the organization’s supply.

Joe Zydlo, external communications director for the American Red Cross in Arkansas and Missouri, said with dozens of cancelled blood drives, the organization had a very low blood supply. However, over the span of about three weeks, they were able to stabilize the need, because of people coming out to donate when they could.

Zydlo said this could be due to the fact blood donation is considered essential, making it something people were able to get out and do.

“I think the big concern that I have is that once things start to open up more across the country, is that something people are going to continue to do?” Zydlo said. “Is that something that’s going to be on their mind? Because typically over the summer, they don’t.”

Zydlo said the need for blood tends to be greater during the summer due to people being outside more, leading to a greater risk of trauma.

Red Cross staff are working hard to ensure the safety of donors by:

  • Requiring everyone to wear masks. If someone don’t have one, one will be provided
  • Taking temperatures before anyone comes in the room. Anyone with a temperature of 99.5 degrees or higher will be turned away
  • Practicing strict social distancing

“We don’t want people to be upset by that and say, ‘You want my blood. You’re asking me for my blood, and you’re turning me away,’ which is a common concern that people get,” Zydlo said. “They have to understand that we have the social distancing policies; how many people we want to have in at one time, and making sure they’re spaced out. We’ve got to follow this protocol.”

A blood drive will be held at the Momentary in Bentonville on Thursday, May 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For anyone that can’t make it, there will be more drives in the coming months.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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