Coronavirus Drives Urgent Need For Healthy Blood Donors From Harlem To Hollis

March 4, 2020

New York Blood Center (NYBC) is calling on healthy blood and platelet donors and community partners to help strengthen the region’s blood supply by maintaining their calendar of upcoming blood drives.

Seventy-five percent of blood donations in our region comes from blood drives that are hosted by schools, organizations, and businesses. As these groups take precautions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, NYBC is seeing a growing number of canceled blood drives for the month of March. These cancellations pose a significant threat to the blood supply.

Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because blood is perishable, and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf today is the blood that will save lives in an emergency.

“Every donation at every blood drive is critical,” said Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO of New York Blood Center. “As healthy, eligible donors, we have a responsibility to our neighbors to keep the blood supply safe and robust. A resilient healthcare system is more important than ever and we’re counting on everyone to help maintain that.”

In anticipation of rolling cancellations of drives, NYBC is seeking to double the blood reserves now so that it can prevent shortages.

It’s important to know that donating blood is safe. NYBC staff are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. They are also regularly cleaning public surfaces. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Donors are encouraged to refrain from donating or attending a blood drive if they have traveled to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks, as defined by CDC, or come into contact with anyone who has a confirmed cased of COVID-19.

NYBC provides life-saving blood and blood services to nearly every hospital across the five boroughs and is responsible for ensuring that our city has a safe and reliable blood supply. It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion and nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone.

Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world. NYBC, along with its partner organizations Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri (CBC), Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve local communities of more than 45 million people in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), Mid Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD), the Kansas City metropolitan area, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England. NYBC and its partners also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services, including Comprehensive Cell Solutions, the National Center for Blood Group Genomics, the National Cord Blood Program, and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, which — among other milestones — developed the Hepatitis B vaccine and a patented solvent detergent plasma process innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.

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