Coronavirus causes drastic decrease in blood supply, donations needed

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The coronavirus pandemic is causing a severe shortage of blood across the country.

Blood service providers say the need for blood is always there, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The need for blood is always there. It’s just that the coronavirus has brought this to light in a whole different way for everyone,” Mitzi Breaux, Marketing and Communications Manager with Vitalant in Lafayette, said.

Vitalant is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit community blood service providers.

The coronavirus has caused a drastic decrease in blood donations with Vitalant losing up to 5,000 pints of blood by the end of April.​​

“Once we get through this and our world starts turning again, and surgeries start happening again, and people start moving around and accidents start happening again, blood usage is going to increase significantly almost overnight, and that’ll be another hurtle that we’ll have to be ready and prepared,” explained Breaux.​

The coronavirus has forced Vitalant to cancel 30% of their blood drives into the month of May.​ She said 70 % of their blood supply comes from mobile blood drives.​​

Breaux added, “One thing that has helped with our blood inventory level is that many if not all hospitals have put their elective surgeries on hold so that has helped with the amount of blood that is being used in our hospitals.”​​

If you are healthy, you are urged to give blood to help save lives.

​​​”We ask people that once this is over, and once life goes back to normal, please don’t forget about donating blood,” said Breaux. “We’re going to need you in June. We’re going to need you in July, and we’re going to need you all the way through the end of the year.”​​

Vitalant is asking if you’ve left the U.S. or been on a cruise within the last 4 weeks to not donate blood. They are checking the temperatures of donors.​

Starting Monday, April 20, all donors will be asked to wear masks or a covering for their face.

Learn more about donating blood here.

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