Carter BloodCare is the community blood center that provides about 200 medical facilities with the transfusion products they need for patients. The territory we cover includes more than 55 counties in north, central and east Texas.
COVID-19 is at the center of our conversations and has affected our blood center’s operations as it has with everyone else. We are evaluating our workforce to determine telecommuting and other social distancing that is helpful in stopping the spread of the virus. But the mission of our organization is essential to the support of the country’s health care system. That mission is “We save lives by making transfusion possible.” Modern medical miracles rely on a safe and sufficient blood supply; the sufficiency of which is in jeopardy if people will not continue to give blood.
Blood donation remains safe. The first line of protection for the blood supply is the routine health screening of donors. This includes our asking if you are healthy and feeling well on the day of donation. If you have any symptoms of illness, including cold or flu, you should not present to give blood. Blood donors are routinely screened for temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin. Carter BloodCare encourages all eligible blood donors to make and keep appointments; and for sponsors to continue hosting blood drives.
That is due to school and university closings; disrupted business operations and the fact that houses of worship are holding services via live stream or not at all. These organizations are forced to cancel their previously scheduled blood drives. Carter BloodCare is relying primarily on our donation centers – fixed locations that are open for people to donate. They can be located on our web site www.carterbloodcare.org.
Leadership at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the primary regulatory body for the blood banking industry, has delivered a strong message to the public about the necessity of blood donation.
“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood.” That urgent call-to-action coming from Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from wanting to donate blood.
“Blood donors are needed now more than ever. We cannot wait for the situation to intensify further before taking action. The blood supply cannot be taken for granted and the coronavirus only heightens the need for a ready blood supply,” said Kate Fry, chief executive officer of America’s Blood Centers, the organization that represents close to 50 blood centers throughout the U.S. and Canada who collect close to 60% of the nation’s blood supply. Carter BloodCare is a member of America’s Blood Centers.
Nationally, a survey of blood centers, with more than half of them reporting, indicates as of March 19, we have seen more than 12,000 blood drives cancelled across the blood industry, resulting in some 355,000 fewer blood donations due to coronavirus concerns.
- The 12,000 number represents cancelled drives in March, April, May, June and July
- The 335,000 number includes projections based on the number of cancelled drives and appointments
- Right now inventories are down an estimated 30-40% depending on blood type from this same time last year
Locally, Carter BloodCare is taking extra precautions to ensure a safe donation experience while ensuring a reliable blood supply for patients who require transfusions, today and into the future. We are implementing added sanitizing. We also encourage donors to make appointments, rather than walk up to a donor center or blood drive. This action helps us to implement social distancing as is advised. Just remember, the potential presence of COVID-19 in communities does not change the fact that every day, patients’ lives depend on the availability of blood for transfusion. Please partner with us as we remain vigilant in sustaining the availability of blood to hospitals and their patients, as it’s the blood on the shelf that saves lives. Your donations are essential. Visit carterbloodcare.org; call or text 800-366-2834.