CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (Jan. 6, 2021) – During the first week of National Blood Donor Month, Blood Assurance is experiencing a sharp increase in cancellations due to winter weather and the Covid-19 omicron variant.
Since Jan. 1, dozens of businesses and organizations have reconsidered holding their planned mobile blood drives. As a result, more than 800 units of blood that would have been used to treat patients at area hospitals, are no longer available.
As of Thursday morning, there was less than a three-day supply of O-positive, A-positive, A-negative, and B-negative blood in the Blood Assurance service area.
“The need for blood never stops,” according to Christopher Swafford, Blood Assurance’s chief operating officer. “Winter weather is impacting road conditions, which could lead to increased blood usage due to traffic crashes and other traumas. We want to ensure that hospitals in this area have what they need to deal with any situation.”
Cancellations and blood donor no-shows are also occurring due to the rise in Covid-19 cases. Those worried about donating blood during the pandemic should know that the blood supply remains safe from Covid-19. There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted through blood, according to America’s Blood Centers. Blood Assurance also requires all staff members to wear masks and maintain a safe and sanitary environment.
To encourage people to donate life-saving blood, Blood Assurance is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to all whole blood donors who give through Sunday, Jan. 9. Additionally, individuals who donate platelets, plasma or double red cells, will be given a $20 Amazon gift card. The promotion applies to all mobile blood drives and brick-and-mortar facilities.
Whole blood and double red cell donors can schedule an appointment online at bloodassurance.org/schedule, or by calling 800-962-0628, or texting BAGIVE to 999777. Plasma and platelet donors can call their local centers to schedule. Walk-ins will be accepted.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.