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American Red Cross faces severe blood shortage due to coronavirus

Nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.

CLEVELAND — The coronavirus pandemic is being felt across the world and that may continue for months to come, but the American Red Cross is hoping healthy individuals can still help donate blood during what is being described as a severe shortage.

During the coronavirus outbreak, the American Red Cross has seen an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. A number the humanitarian organization says has reached 2,700 blood drive cancellations resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.

The American Red Cross is reminding the public that individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. 

In Northeast Ohio alone, more than 230 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in approximately 6,500 fewer blood donations according to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross says they will be adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give. 

“I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day’s supply of blood for the hospital,” said Dr. Robertson Davenport, director of transfusion medicine at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. “The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait.”

“In our experience, the American public comes together to support those in need during times of shortage and that support is needed now more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Unfortunately, when people stop donating blood, it forces doctors to make hard choices about patient care, which is why we need those who are healthy and well to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life.”

The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for donors and staff including, checking the temperature of staff and donors before and after to make sure they are healthy, providing hand sanitizer and spacing beds when possible.

The Red Cross maintains there is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.

Below is a list of upcoming blood donation opportunities locally:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Root Candle, 623 W. Liberty St., Medina, 2-6:30 p.m.

The Chapel Wadsworth Campus, 1391 State Road, Wadsworth, 1-7 p.m.

Heritage Presbyterian Church, 1951 Matthews Road, Youngstown, 1:30-6:30 p.m.

Canfield United Methodist Church, 27 S. Broad St., Canfield, 2-7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Cleveland Heights Library, 2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

American Red Cross Summit County Chapter, 501 W. Market St., Akron, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Walton Hills Village Hall, 7595 Walton Road, Walton Hills, 1-6 p.m.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mayfield Village Civic Center, 6622 Wilson Mills Road, Mayfield Village, 2-6:30 p.m.

American Red Cross Summit County Chapter, 501 W. Market St., Akron, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Knights of Columbus Sandusky, Holy Angels Catholic Church, 428 Tiffin Ave., Sandusky, 1-5:30 p.m.

American Red Cross Wayne County Chapter, 244 W. South St., Wooster, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Ashtabula Towne Square, 3315 N. Ridge Road E., Ashtabula, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cuyahoga County Library, Strongsville Branch, 18700 Westwood Dr., Strongsville, 10:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m.

City of Green Fire Department, 4200 Massillon Road, Green, 1-7 p.m.

Perry Grange Hall, 6300 Richville Dr. SW, Canton, 1-6 p.m.

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