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Donating blood safely during the pandemic

Special measures are in place to ensure donors can do so safely.

Summer is traditionally a tough time for blood donations; so you can imagine how tough it is during a pandemic.

"We're doing well considering the challenges," said Dr. Jed Gorlin, medical director at Memorial Blood Centers. 

Dr. Gorlin says the organization doesn't like to cry wolf, but there is a fine line. 

"Our comfort zone is higher when we have three days or more of inventory and especially the RH negative and O types, it's three days or less so we'd love to replenish those inventories."

When COVID-19 first hit, all blood drives shut down.

It's how Memorial Blood Centers collects 50% of it's donations. 

"Now at the same time there was cancelling of elective surgeries so that decreased blood usage by about 30% so we were able to make up for that by pushing our regular fixed-site donors harder," Dr. Gorlin said. "But they all donated in March and April so now it's a little thin and the summer months are always challenging in normal years so you can imagine they are particularly challenging now."

But donations are back up and running now with as many blood drives they can handle, with a few safety changes: taking temperatures, requiring masks, cleaning in-between donations and doing them by appointment-only to ensure social distancing. 

They just need you, the potential donor, to know about it, and to know it's safe.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint, it's not all tomorrow we need it continually over the summer," Dr. Gorlin said.

They're hoping that peace of mind will encourage you to make an appointment.

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