BURLINGTON, N.C. — Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It’s essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the recent hurricane season is wreaking-havoc on blood supply nationwide. Most recently, Hurricane Eta forced OneBlood to suspend operations in Tampa Bay and the Fort Myers areas. OneBlood is a not-for-profit blood center responsible for providing safe, available and affordable blood to more than 250 hospital partners and their patients throughout Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
Statistics show approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S. One donation can potentially save up to three lives. OneBlood is urging healthy donors to donate blood to help ensure a ready blood supply for areas impacted by hurricanes, as well as the rest of the OneBlood service area.
“The need for blood is now and it is ongoing. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to indefinitely disrupt blood collections and the impact from the hurricane is further compounding the situation,” said Susan Forbes, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations for OneBlood. “A sustained donor response is needed to ensure a ready blood supply is available at all times. It is vital that people donate each time they are eligible. By doing so they are helping ensure a ready blood supply is available for the community, no matter the circumstances.”
A sustained donor response is also needed to help meet the unprecedented demand from hospitals requesting convalescent plasma. People who have recovered from the coronavirus have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood. By transfusing plasma from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 into a patient still fighting the virus, it can boost their immune system and potentially help them recover.
“The need for convalescent plasma has reached extraordinary levels and it is going to remain that way for the foreseeable future”, said Forbes. “To ensure a ready convalescent plasma supply it’s important that people who have recovered from COVID-19 donate each time they are eligible. These donors are playing a lead role in helping COVID-19 patients recover and they are needed for the long haul.”
To find a OneBlood location or Big Red Bus blood drive and to schedule an appointment, visit the OneBlood website.