COVID-19 has not put a stop to the need for blood and there is currently an increased need for blood donations because drives that are normally held at churches and schools have been put on hold due to the stay at home order. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, it is still safe for people to go out and give blood. The American Red Cross is worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.
A big red bus was parked alongside the fire trucks at the Denver Fire Department on Monday. Capt. Joshua Carpenter arranges a blood drive at the fire department every three months and because the training room is undergoing renovations, he requested the Big Red Bus come for the donation. The bus is operated by OneBlood, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) community asset responsible for providing safe, available and affordable blood. OneBlood serves hospitals throughout the southeast.
OneBlood meets all FDA guidelines and all team members follow strict safety protocols including:
• All OneBlood phlebotomists wear medical gloves that are changed for each donation.
• All donor-touched areas and equipment are disinfected after every donation. This includes, donor beds, registration tablets, blood-pressure cuff and hemoglobin sensors.
• A sterile collection set is used for every donation.
• Every donor receives a mini-physical that includes a temperature check to ensure donors are healthy and well on the day of donation.
• Only people who are healthy are eligible to donate blood.
The Big Red Bus is a blood clinic on wheels. Normally, six beds are used for donors, but due to social distancing, only two are used at one time. OneBlood will be offering the following drives throughout the month of May:
Walmart - Walmart Cherryville on Sunday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Atrium Health Lincoln on Tuesday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
VT Leeboy on Wednesday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Daniels Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 23 from 7:15-10:15 a.m.
Blood drives through the American Red Cross will resume in June with one on June 25 from 2-7 p.m. at the Lincoln Sheriff Department and another at Ingles Market on June 28 from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.