NEW YORK – As regions prepare to reopen and hospitals anticipate the return of elective surgeries, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is issuing an urgent call for healthy blood donors. The need for blood has rebounded to pre-COVID-19 levels, but the blood supply is dangerously low. In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right now, reserves are far below that minimum.
Before COVID-19, mobile blood drives hosted by schools, organizations, and businesses made up around 75% of the region’s incoming blood supply, but all drives had to be cancelled during the past several months. NYBC will begin holding a limited number of mobile blood drives each week, but they are far from the 600 drives per month that would be required to meet the need at area hospitals. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment at these mobile drives or one of NYBC’s 19 donor centers across New York and New Jersey.
“The blood supply is a critical part of our healthcare system. It is imperative for healthy individuals to come in and donate blood so that it’s available to those in need,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director Recruitment and Marketing. “At this unprecedented time, this is one thing you can do to help someone who desperately needs it. We have extended hours at our donor centers and we’re encouraging donors to schedule an appointment to visit one of these controlled, safe environments.”
Donating blood is safe and it only takes one hour. We are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. NYBC staff are also practicing health self-assessments prior to presenting at work. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Additional information on donor eligibility and COVID-19 precautions is available here.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently revised several guidelines regarding donor eligibility, including shortening the deferral period for men who have sex with men from twelve months to three. NYBC has advocated for these changes for decades and expects to welcome these newly eligible donors at the beginning of June. More information is available here.
Donors can schedule appointments by calling 1-800-933-2566 or visiting www.nybc.org.