PANAMA CITY, Fl (July 2, 2020) — The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donations to prevent another blood shortage as hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The community is invited to donate blood with the Red Cross and Bill Cramer Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC at their semi-annual summer blood drive Thursday, July 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church 903 E 4th St. in Panama City.
Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
In recent weeks, hospital demand for blood products has grown by 30% after sharply declining in early April amid this rapidly changing and complex public health crisis. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled as many businesses and community organizations remain closed. Donors are needed to make and keep scheduled appointments to help meet the current need.
“Blood donors have played a vital role in the lives of patients who have needed lifesaving transfusions during this pandemic, and patients continue to depend on donors each and every day,” said Ronnika A. McFall, external communications manager, Red Cross Blood Services. “The Red Cross appreciates the support of those who rolled up a sleeve to give in recent months, but the need doesn’t stop. We need the public’s help to avoid another blood shortage this summer and we thank our sponsors, Bill Cramer GM, WJHG-TV and iHeart Radio Panama City, for helping us spread this important message.”
It’s important to remember that red blood cells must be transfused within 42 days of donation and platelets within just five days. So, they must constantly be replenished. There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, and the Red Cross urgently needs the help of donors and blood drive hosts to ensure blood products are readily available for patients.
The Red Cross is now testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus. Donors who help support the urgent need by giving at this drive will be able to view their results 7-10 days after donation through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or at RedCrossBlood.org.
Blood drive safety precautions
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.