Published by Kirby Winn on Friday, November 13, 2020 in News Releases
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) reminds donors that blood donation is an approved, essential activity even as government bodies urge citizens to limit trips outside the home to contain the spread of COVID-19. MVRBC is the provider of blood and blood components to more than 115 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. To schedule an appointment for donation, call (800) 747-5401, schedule online at www.bloodcenter.org, or via the Blood Center’s mobile app (www.bloodcenter.org/app).
ONGOING NEED FOR DONORS
Blood donation has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because transfusions are given on an ongoing basis at hospitals throughout our region. “People still have car accidents; people still have emergency liver transplants and emergency heart surgery. People with cancer still have their chemotherapy and need to be supported by blood transfusion,” said Dr. Louis Katz, Chief Medical Officer. “So having a pandemic doesn’t make the need for blood go away.”
Dr. Katz is an infectious disease specialist who also serves as Medical Director for the Scott County, Iowa, Department of Public Health. “We need donors to understand that the need persists, number one. And number two, that a donor room may be amongst the safest places in the community,” said Katz.
MAINTAINING A SAFE, HYGENIEC ENVIRONMENT FOR STAFF AND DONORS
MVRBC has taken steps to ensure blood drives remain an acceptable activity under federal, state, and local public health guidelines. All donors are required to schedule an appointment for donation and all staff, donors, and volunteers are required to wear a mask. The Blood Center is not taking walk-in donors to help staff at its Donor Centers and mobile blood drives manage donor flow and maintain appropriate social distancing between staff and donors.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE BLOOD SUPPLY
MVRBC estimates a loss of 35,000 donations due to cancelled blood drives from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Midwest. Blood drive cancellations include numerous high schools, colleges, and universities as well as events hosted by businesses, churches, and civic groups. The impact of blood drive cancellations is especially concerning in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
“We are projected to collect 1000 fewer donations during the week of Thanksgiving than the week before and the week after,” said Amanda Hess, Director, Donor and Public Relations. “We need to put a significant dent in that shortfall by increasing appointments over the next two weeks.”
DONOR PROMOTIONS: CHOICE OF LONG-SLEEVE T-SHIRT OR GIFT CARD
The Blood Center is providing all presenting donors with a voucher to redeem for their choice of a blood donor T-shirt or $10 gift card. In addition, each time a donor registers to give, they will receive points to use in the Blood Center’s online Donor Loyalty Store. On select dates, double or triple points are offered. Points are redeemable for exclusive donor gifts such as apparel, drinkware, phone accessories, and more. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org/promotions.
To maintain a safe, hygienic environment at Donor Centers and blood drives:
- All staff and donors are now required to wear a face covering while inside Donor Centers or participating in a mobile blood drive. Paper masks will be provided for those who arrive without their own mask or facial covering.
- Donors are now required to make appointments for donation. To maintain social distancing and appropriate donor flow, walk-ins will only be accepted when an appointment slot is available.
- Please do not give blood if you are experiencing any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection or have in the last 14 days been within six feet of someone who has the virus or is being tested for the virus for greater than 15 minutes without use of personal protective equipment.
- Prior to donation, donors are screened for symptoms of illness (body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level all are checked, and the donor completes a pre-donation Donor History Questionnaire).
- When possible, donors are asked to complete the Donor History Questionnaire online on the same day as their donation (see www.bloodcenter.org/EarlyQ)
- Staff have added space between chairs in screening areas and in the post-donation refreshment area. Between donations, staff wipe down chairs and surfaces to maintain a safe, hygienic environment.
About Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), based in Davenport, Iowa, serves more than 115 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, as well as resource sharing partners across the country. The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit blood center was established in 1974 and operates as Central Illinois Community Blood Center (Springfield, Illinois) and Community Blood Services of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois).
The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and visit the Blood Center’s social media channels: www.facebook.com/MVRBC, www.twitter.com/willyougive, www.youtube.com/MVRBC, and www.instagram.com/willyougive/.