Blood drives are being canceled or postponed across Iowa due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the state’s blood centers are again asking the public for help to meet demand.
Kirby Winn, the spokesman for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, says the need for blood and blood products never ends. Winn says they’re making every effort to make the donation process smooth — and safe.
“We want to assure any prospective donor that if you are healthy and well when you come in to donate, that’s not going to change as a consequence of blood donation,” Winn says. “Our locations are very clean and we’re putting additional focus on wiping down surfaces and all the hygienic practices that exist in the first place around blood donation.”
The Davenport-based blood center has helped patients and hospitals as far away as the Seattle, Washington area by providing shipments. It’s vital that safe conditions are maintained and he suggests if you’ve been feeling sick, especially with a cough and fever, stay home.
“If it has an impact that ultimately could mean a patient who requires a blood transfusion can’t receive it, then we haven’t done our job,” Winn says. “We’re asking donors who are feeling healthy and well, we know with all the cancellations, people have some extra time on their hands, please use some of that time as a blood donor.” The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center has Iowa locations in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, Iowa City/Coralville, Muscatine, and Ottumwa, and serves 95 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri.
Winn says to check the website “blood center.org” for locations to donate, then sign up for an appointment.
(By Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)