More blood donations needed to sustain area hospitals

Health Check

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – We’re in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic right now, but another health concern is a lack of blood donations.

The Community Blood Center in Topeka supplies blood to around 74 area hospitals.

“All of our mobile (blood drives) have canceled right now, through May 14th. So we are trying to drive all of those donors into the centers, so we can keep our donations up. In order to keep maintaining that (blood) supply, we need blood donors coming in this week, next week, next month, continuously so we can maintain that supply,” Cynthia Kerns, manager of the Topeka Community Blood Center, said.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Community Blood Center has extra health and safety precautions.

“We are taking donors’ and staff members’ temperatures when they come in the door, to ensure that they are healthy and well,” Kerns said. “We are all wearing masks and encourage donors to as well. And of course, we are cleaning everything in between every donor.”

Regular blood donations take about an hour, and one donation can save up to three people’s lives.

“We just encourage everyone who is healthy and able to come out,” Kerns said. “I know there is not a lot else you can do right now, but this is one way you can help.”

The Community Blood Center detailed the new FDA Guidelines for blood donors.

“CBC is thrilled with the trio of new blood guidances issued by the FDA on 4/2/2020. Each of these guidances allows a greater group of potential blood donors to be eligible to give blood. We will work quickly to modify our computer systems, donor questionnaires and train staff to these newly published rules.”

The guidances will allow the following:

  • HIV risk behaviors deferrals shortened to 3 months
  • 3-month deferrals for travel to an area of a country where there is a risk of contracting malaria.
  • Donors who spent time adding up to 5 years in European countries will no longer be deferred from donating blood due to the risk of acquiring variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD) or the human version of mad cow disease.

The Community Blood Centers are accepting whole blood, double red cells, platelet, and plasma. You can find a center and schedule a daily appointment by visiting: https://donate.savealifenow.org/donor/schedules/zip

More information on how the blood center is taking action during the coronavirus pandemic can be found at: www.savealifenow.org/coronavirus

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