Wednesday, May 20, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12
AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Donating blood is as important and safe as ever, and even without the COVID-19, antibodies are needed right now.
Donors are screened before they enter a donation site and when their blood itself is donated.
"Even during the worst of COVID-19, the need for blood and platelets doesn't stop," Ashley Whitaker, Shepard Director of Community Resources, said.
Blood use in hospitals has gone down over the past two months, but now that hospitals can expand their services, more blood is getting used.
"Now that [elective] surgeries are back up, our usage is going back up as expected," Caryl Havasy, Laboratory service director of Doctors Hospital, said.
That means blood banks like Sheaperd Blood Center will be asked to give more. The problem?
"We are significantly lower than we were last year in May," Whitaker said. "We've had a lot of drive cancelations and we simply have a lot of people who just haven't thought about donating blood."
There has been a demand for blood with COVID-19 antibodies, though it's actually not the blood that hospitals need most right now.
"Most of our blood that we need right now is just normal donations," Havasy said.
Every state is getting closer to a full re-opening. That means more people will be able to travel and could find themselves needing a transfusion.
"Summer is my concern because summer is always slow for every blood center," Whitaker said.
Summer is when most blood is used by hospitals as its the season with the highest number of accidents that require blood.
"We are concerned going forward because our blood supplies right now are normal, our blood donations centers as we know are not normal," Havasy said.
And blood isn't just for emergencies and elective surgeries, it's essential for patients with chronic conditions.
"My daughter -- who was in the hospital for a while, got blood donations, and we were so grateful to those people who gave," Mason Richardson, an Evans resident, said.
Shepeard's blood drive yesterday had 10 people donate, but will need much more to get back to a normal level. If you would like to donate, visit the Shepeard Blood Center's website.
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