FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The American Red Cross is urging the healthy to donate blood amid concerns of the coronavirus outbreak. This as coronavirus spreads to dozens of states and positive cases surpass 5,000 nationally.
Mario Bruno, CEO of American Red Cross Connecticut & Rhode Island said, “At this point we are taking care of our volunteers, making sure everybody is safe. We’re also telling the community to stay safe: wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick.”
Red Cross said in a statement Monday they are now prescreening all donors by taking their temperature prior to donation.
Officials say the fear of the virus along with the cold and flu season can negatively impact blood supply for patients in need.
As fears of coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services
Collection centers in Farmington and Norwich are open every weekday.
Red Cross reminds the public that blood drives see an average of 20-30 people and are not large gatherings, so they are emphasizing their ability to socially distance in their drive locations.
As state leaders encourage the cancellation of large gatherings to combat the spread, The Red Cross hopes that it does not stop healthy residents from making a blood donation.
Stefanie Arcangelo, CCO for American Red Cross Connecticut, said, “The need for blood is constant. Every two seconds someone in the US needs blood. And that doesn’t stop when we have cold and flu season or when we have something like COVID-19.”
There are blood drives that the Red Cross headquarters in Farmington every Wednesday and Saturday. People can make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org or the Red Cross Blood Donor App.