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Red Cross urges healthy people to continue donating blood amid coronavirus concerns

Posted at 12:08 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 12:39:24-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Amidst concerns of the coronavirus, the Red Cross is urging those that are healthy to continue to donate blood and help save lives.

Virginia Red Cross Spokesperson, Johnathan McNamara, said the need for blood is constant.

But in some areas of the country, fears of the coronavirus have caused some blood drive hosts to cancel blood drives. He said that's cost the Red Cross about 1,300 units so far.

McNamara said this causes a ripple effect on the much-needed blood supply around the country -- which doctors use regularly to treat patients.

"We understand in situations when fear and anxiety is there, we have to be prepared that that could have an impact on drives," said McNamara.

"And that's why we're getting this message out. Saying to the public, as we already have seen in other markets, we are seeing some of the hosts who host blood drives start to pull back on some of those and we want to encourage -- if there are any companies or organizations who are hosting blood drives in our area -- we are encouraging them to continue those drives," McNamara added.

Despite the spread of the coronavirus, McNamara said giving blood is a safe process. The Red Cross will continue to thoroughly clean facilities and work closely with the FDA and CDC to make sure they have the latest information on the virus and any other precautionary measures they should take.

In addition to that, McNamara said the Red Cross will continue to get temperature checks, blood pressure screens, and hemoglobin screens before each donation.

Alternatively, those who have been diagnosed with the 2019 coronavirus, been in contact with someone who has had the virus or is suspected of having the virus, or anyone who has recently traveled to China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the past 28 days, are asked to avoid giving blood.

Anyone who is healthy and interested in donating can find locations here.