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Published on March 24, 2020

Your blood donation is needed more than ever

Blood Donation

In a time of rapid global change, here’s one of the things that has remained constant: the need for blood donations.

“Over the past week or so, a lot of blood centers across the country, and especially ours, have seen a drop in blood donations,” said Jonathan DeCoste, senior blood donor recruiter for Cape Cod Healthcare.

Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital need blood for transfusions on a daily basis, he said.

“Even with everything else that’s going on, the day-to-day need for blood hasn’t changed much,” he said. “Red blood cells have a limited shelf life – just 42 days – so our blood supply needs to be constantly replenished. While all types are needed, we are especially in need of O negative.”

It’s important for the public to know that the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or when attending blood drives, he said.

A few changes have been put in place in recent days in order to ensure donors’ safety. All donations are by appointment (no walk-ins) and appointments are limited, so the staff can manage social distancing between donors.

Cape Cod Healthcare has also adjusted the donor sign-in process. People who have traveled to countries with COVID-19 outbreaks should refrain from donating, as should anyone who lives with someone who is diagnosed with or suspected of having a COVID-19 infection. Previous screening measures are still in place, including that blood donors must be in good health and have a normal temperature.

“It’s important for people to know the coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives,” said DeCoste. “The CDC and FDA have stated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of anyone receiving coronavirus through transfusions and the virus poses no known risks to patients receiving any blood products.”

“It is safe to donate blood,” Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a press release. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it.”

Blood drives continue at various locations. For more information or to schedule a donation, the calendar is updated regularly and can be found on the Cape Cod Healthcare website.

“Blood donations made through Cape Cod Healthcare stay on Cape Cod,” said DeCoste.

“Your donation could save the life of a friend, neighbor or relative.”

The Nicholas G. Xiarhos Blood Donor Center at Cape Cod Hospital continues to schedule platelet donations by appointment. When platelet donors arrive, they will be screened at the main entrance.