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Coronavirus causes national severe blood shortages

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - As stay-at-home orders are rolling out across the country, the Red Cross wants folks to know it is still okay to donate, in fact, they need it.

There is a severe blood shortage of nation-wide. Fewer people are coming in because of the coronavirus and several thousand mobile blood drive sites have been canceled because schools and churches are closed. The impromptu drive ABC57’s Tana Kelley went to today was at an indoor soccer field, a pretty creative solution.

7,000 blood drives canceled meaning 200,000 fewer donations. In Indiana, about 160 drives were canceled losing about 6,000 units of blood.

“If the blood supply drops to critical levels and below that, what you start seeing is surgeries being canceled,” Craig Weyers, a Red Cross Board Member, and Donor said. “Cancer treatments depend on blood transfusion. It’s those kinds of things that we are going to start forcing doctors into decisions that we shouldn’t force doctors into.”

The Red Cross finally found a place, Soccer Zone, where they can go and do a mobile drive for the day and Tana brings you in.

Right at the front door, they make you use hand sanitizer and then check your temperature.

Once cleared, you go to get screened, they take your blood temperature and other medical information. Then it’s off to give blood!

The whole process takes 30 to 45 minutes on average depending on medical history, it could take upwards of an hour but a very short time.

50 people have already walked through the doors and they are on track for the 60 units they were planning on getting.

“Tt’s important people know that giving blood is a, not a mass gathering, people are spread out, scheduled appropriately,” Weyers said. “Surgeon General is recommending people go out and give blood. It’s very in sync with the guidelines being received from the CDC.”

Again it's so easy to donate. So if you are healthy, make sure you click here for the Red Cross's next mobile blood drive.

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