LifeShare in need of blood donations during coronavirus pandemic

LifeShare Blood Centers had already planned to have their mobile units out and saw a larger...
LifeShare Blood Centers had already planned to have their mobile units out and saw a larger presence of donors on Sunday.(WAFB)
Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 8:30 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) -The recent coronavirus pandemic has now started to affect blood donations in the state of Louisiana.

LifeShare says they’ve lost more than 3,500 upcoming blood donations due to the outbreak. Dozens of blood drives have been canceled with many due to the result of high schools and colleges canceling in-person classes for the next several weeks.

“One in five blood donations is from a teenager,” said senior director of blood operations, Ben Prijatel. “These young people have a tremendous impact on the healthcare local hospitals are able to provide in our communities.”

Prijatel said with schools closed it will be very difficult for them to reach young donors and motivate them to donate at one of their centers.

In addition to schools, many businesses have also canceled company-wide blood drives because many organizations have asked employees to work from home.

Regional Director Bobby Carney says these donations are needed to help many people and even babies survive at hospitals.

“The need is still there and the need will always be there,” Carney said. “People still have cancer. People still suffer from sickle cell. There’s still premature babies in the ICU/NICU that still need blood.”

Right now LifeShare is looking at how they can adapt and trying to come up with ways to hold more and smaller blood drives.

Carney said they’ve also opened their Bossier City Location up to three days a week and extended the hours to 5:30 p.m.

On top of that LifeShare is working to continue making enhancements to further ensure their donor areas are low-risk as possible. These include:

• Not hosting public blood drives of greater than 50 donors.

• Sanitizing donor beds and chairs following each donation.

• Stocking additional cleaning and disinfectant supplies as we increase the cleaning of high-touch surfaces in our donor areas.

• Reinforcing training procedures to ensure our staff are following proper safety and hygiene procedures.

LifeShare also wants to remind the community these things:

• LifeShare follows FDA safety regulations to ensure a safe hygienic donation environment.

• COVID-19 poses no known risk to blood donors during the donation process.

• There are no reports that COVID-19 can be transmitted through a blood transfusion.

• Blood donors should be healthy. If you are sick or symptomatic, please wait until you’re feeling healthy and well before donating.

“When they come here we test the blood before it goes to the hospitals, and the hospitals usually test it again as well,” said Carney. “If there’s anything in their blood it would show up that they’re sick.”

Donors wishing to schedule an appointment can click HERE. All donors need to bring a form of identification with them when donating.

Churches or small businesses wishing to host a drive can call (318)-215-5250.

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