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Published on April 02, 2020

Need for blood donations continues

Blood Donor Need

Note: Due to newly-established social distancing guidelines, current blood drives are filling up quickly. Cape Cod Healthcare is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from donors and thanks you for your patience as we work to add more drives to the schedule. Please check the online schedule for newly added donation events.

Blood centers throughout the country continue to experience a significant drop in donations, which is limiting the ability for the nation’s blood supply to be adequately replenished. Why the drop? Some of that is due to limited access and some is due to concerns about safety.

It’s important for the public to know the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or when attending blood drives. Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure donor safety at all times.

“The Cape Cod Healthcare Blood Program continues to need blood,” said Jonathan DeCoste, senior blood donor recruiter at Cape Cod Healthcare. “Blood drives are updated regularly on the calendar with the majority now being held at a single location near the Cape Cod Hospital campus.” This new location is on the corner of Bayview and Rte. 28, W. Yarmouth.

“In order to maintain social distancing and continue to follow the CDC and FDA recommendations, we are only able to take a limited number of donors per day/hour,” said DeCoste. “In the past, we were able to take 50 or more donors a day but, because of the new guidelines, it’s closer to 25.”

The drives and hours are listed on the website calendar here. If a drive is full, registrants will be able to see that when they visit the website before registering. Drives are being added daily so it’s important to check back for updated listings. Information can also be found on the Cape Cod Healthcare Blood Center Facebook page.

Donors are being asked to sign up via the website listing, as donations are by appointment only.

The Nicholas G. Xiarhos Blood Donor Center at Cape Cod Hospital continues to schedule platelet donations by appointment.

Note: when platelet donors arrive, they will be screened at the main entrance. The center is also available for blood donations by in-hospital employees.

“Even with everything else that’s going on, the day-to-day need for blood hasn’t changed much,” DeCoste 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.”

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.

“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.”