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Blood donations still needed during shutdown

As COVID-19 sweeps across the nation and the world, the American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage.

As of Thursday, the agency said nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.

Blood donation centers are taking extra precautions amid the pandemic and say donating blood is still safe.

The Red Cross says there is no evidence to suggest the coronavirus can transfer through a blood donation. Also, they now are implementing these new precautions:

• Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy;

• Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process;

• Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors; and

• Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

People can set an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

To reduce the time it takes to donate, complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire.

A donation of blood is the gift of life. We’re a compassionate society. In this time of emergency, we need to think even more about our neighbors, our community, our nation.

At some point in your life, there’s a good chance you or one of your loved ones will need blood. Let’s all work to make sure it’s available. Now is the time to pay it forward.

— The Jefferson City (Missouri) News-Tribune