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Several blood drives scheduled during COVID-19 situation

To help combat the growing coronavirus outbreak, there will be several blood drives in the coming weeks in Albemarle for people wanting to do their part to help hospital patients.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that the coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.

The American Red Cross office in Albemarle (243 W. Main St.) will host blood drives from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. There will also be several other blood drives in the future, said Sheila Crunkleton, executive director for the Southern Piedmont Chapter of the American Red Cross, who is in charge of six counties.

“We found that so many of our drives were being canceled in the schools and churches…that we wanted to set up sites in our buildings,” Crunkleton said, adding that nationwide, the organization is losing more than 7,000 blood drives due to the closing of certain places.

“This is an essential need,” she said. “If you need blood, you have to have it and you have to have it now. You can’t wait and there’s nothing that can be used to substitute for it.”

Other cities that have set up American Red Cross blood drives include Salisbury and Monroe.

People need to make sure they are healthy and well. Red Cross employees will take temperatures as soon as donors walk in the door, Crunkleton said.

“We are really following safety precautions and making sure everyone is healthy and taken care of,” she said.

To schedule a donation appointment, go to redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code Red Cross Albemarle.

The organization OneBlood is also holding a blood drive every Wednesday in April from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Atrium Health Stanly. Donations will be collected on OneBlood’s mobile red bus, which will be parked beside the hospital. All donors will receive a free OneBlood water bottle and a $20 eGift card.

“The coronavirus is heightening the need for a ready blood supply,” the organization wrote in a statement sent To The Stanly News & Press. “As businesses and schools shut down, OneBlood is experiencing rapid cancelations of blood drives and we are quickly approaching a critical blood supply issue as we have never experienced before.”

In the Carolina region, 184 OneBlood drives have been canceled, which has resulted in a potential loss of 5,500 blood donations.

In order to adhere to social distancing practices, at blood drives, only a certain number of people will be permitted on the bus at any one time. Donors will be asked to provide their cellphone number so they can wait in their car or outside the Big Red Bus. They will be called when it is their turn to donate blood.

“Blood donors are needed now more than ever,” OneBlood wrote. “Every blood drive is important and every blood donation is crucial.”

To schedule a donation appointment, visit www.oneblood.org/corona. 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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