Officials at the American Red Cross in Central New York say the region’s blood supply has remained relatively stable during the pandemic despite a brief drop early on when most blood drives were cancelled. That’s in contrast to severe and ongoing shortfalls elsewhere in the nation.
Communications manager Dan Hartman admits they initially had to scramble when schools, workplaces, and churches shut down last spring.
“Fortunately, the community stepped forward and our team here did an amazing job finding other host sites. Eventually we were able to catch up and we’re always able to meet patients' needs.”
Hartman says the need dropped when elective surgeries were cancelled. But he says there’s always some demand for blood products for cancer patients or accident victims. Hartman says a crisis or emergency tends to bring out the best in people looking for ways to help.
“We did see an influx of people who may have donated in the past and kind of fell out of that routine and rejoined us again. We’ve seen a tremendous uptick in new donors and we do have the regulars who make it part of their regimen to donate blood on a regular basis.”
Hartman says they’ve bolstered their already-rigorous protocols to ensure the health and safety of donors.
“You’ll have your temperature taken before you enter a blood drive. The health screening - some of the questions that are being asked - there are more questions now. The beds where the blood is collected are spaced out more than 6 feet. Everyone is wearing a mask obviously. All the sites are sanitized between donations.”
The Red Cross’s next blood drive will be held Wednesday, February 17th from 10 to 3 in the City Hall Commons Atrium. Appointments are required at redcrossblood.org using the syrcityhall code, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.