Blood drive procedures change amid coronavirus pandemic, but Lincoln event draws full slate of donors
May 6, 2020
The Lincoln Blood Drive had a full schedule of locals signed up to donate blood Tuesday, April 28 at the Community Hall.
Procedures were a little different than in the past, but the mood was positive and people were glad to be there.
Upon entering the hall this time, the one noticeable difference was that everyone, donors and collectors alike, were wearing masks. Red Cross employees were also wearing gloves, and changing them often between donors. Blood drive volunteers took donors’ temperatures as they walked in the door to check in for their appointments, and social distancing guidelines were noticeable in interactions and the way the hall was set up.
Blood drives continued in Montana during the stay-at-home order as the American Red Cross was considered an essential business and therefore could continue to collect blood donations throughout the state. Blood drives in settings like Lincoln continued, however site draws at schools and other places affected by the shut-down order were put on hold.
In the beginning of the stay-at-home directive, Red Cross was concerned that, without school and other draw sites, they might face some shortages. Individuals who normally donate at those events were invited to a Red Cross donation center to make their blood donation. One saving grace during that time was that elective surgeries had been put on hold, so blood use wasn’t as high as normal. At one point, there was some concern there might be an overage of blood in storage, due to the fact it wasn’t being used as quickly as normal. Elective surgeries resumed in some areas last week and supplies seem to be leveling out.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 aren’t known to be spread by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of coronavirus being transmitted by transfusion.
One Red Cross employee working the blood drive in Lincoln last week mentioned what a delicate balance it is between having not enough or too much at any given time.
The next Lincoln Blood Drive is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23. If you would like to make an appointment to donate, contact Sherry Sidell at 406-362-4831.