The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is calling on blood donors to help respond to the increase in need of blood donation. After several weeks of reduced activity and cancellation of many blood drives at the end of March, hospitals are beginning elective surgeries again. Public Relations Manager Kirby Winn, of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center that oversees CICBC, says that replenishment of the supply is needed soon. “What we are seeing now, a couple of months in, we still have an impact on the blood supply. We still have fewer groups hosting blood drives, but we do have an increase in activity and it is somewhat being drive by the fact elective surgeries are taking place again at hospitals. It’s good that people who need care. You know those elective surgeries just aren’t something that somebody does for fun. It sounds like it’s a choice, but it’s definitely necessary in their lives when it can happen, but that is driving an increase now in the demand for blood and yet we still have a decrease in the rate of blood donation and activity level is low overall over what it would be in the normal time. We are working hard now to get the word out and catch up.”
Winn says that the need for blood never went away as non-elective surgeries and procedures like cancer treatment and child birth and emergency transfusions were still happening. As elective surgeries increase, the patient need is going to return to about 80% of pre-pandemic levels. He says a decrease in donors has happened because schools are closed, many are working from home, and people have stopped non-essential travel.
He says the procedures around blood donation has also changed. He says people need to call and make an appointment to give blood so the blood bank can handle social distancing measures and be prepared for the number of people walking in their door.
Winn says the need for additional donors and host organizations need to step forward at the current time to meet the blood bank’s need. Winn says that organizations and groups should contact Jim Watts in Springfield to host a blood donation event. “As we get through Memorial Day and then on into summer, summer is always a tough time for blood donation in the first place. That is mostly because school is out and we can’t schedule blood drives at high schools, colleges, and universities in the summer months. This year is going to be even harder because a lot of groups that usually host in the summer have canceled or postponed their events and just aren’t able to host a blood drive.”
For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and visit the Blood Center’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. To set up a blood drive for your organization, call 217-753-1530.