Red Cross is Facing a Severe Blood Shortage and L.A. Care is Helping

Los Angeles – The American Red Cross says as of March 19, more than 5,000 blood drives have been canceled since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, resulting in 170,000 fewer blood donations. The organization says healthy individuals are needed to ensure lifesaving blood to patients across the country. L.A. Care understands that this is a critical situation, so it is proceeding with a company blood drive that had been on the calendar for weeks.

“After ensuring that the blood drive could be done in the safest way possible, we felt it was important to keep it on the calendar,” said Richard Seidman, MD, MPH, L.A. Chief Medical Officer. “Donations are used for transfusions after serious injuries, surgeries, and childbirth – so we know this is important for our members.”
The American Red Cross will be at L.A. Care on Tuesday, March 24, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
“Thank you to L.A. Care for hosting a blood drive. As a community, this is a time where we must take care of one another including those most vulnerable among us and our hospital patients,” said Jay Winkenbach, Regional Donor Services Executive, Red Cross Los Angeles Blood Services Region. “Like a hospital, grocery store, or pharmacy, a blood drive is essential to ensuring the health of the community, and the Red Cross continues to collect blood products to help meet the needs of our hospital patients including trauma, accident victims and cancer patients. Donating blood is a safe process, which is why we need those who are healthy and well to make an appointment, roll up a sleeve and help save a life.”

The blood drive will be held in a large conference room to allow for proper social distancing.

Other Red Cross safety protocols include:

  • Wearing gloves and changing them often
  • Wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection
  • Using sterile collection sets for every donation
  • Preparing the arm for donation with aseptic scrub
  • Conducting donor mini-physicals to ensure donors are healthy and well on day of donation

The Red Cross has increased vigilance concerning some of these safety protocols including:

  • Enhanced disinfecting of equipment 
  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment
  • Temperature checks before presenting donors enter the blood drive or donation center