The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is still asking for donations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the nation’s blood supply. Blood donation is considered an essential activity and continues even with the stay at home directive in place.
However, MVRBC is implementing a new policy of requiring appointments for blood donations. The new policy will allow the center to limit walk-in donations to help manage donor flow and maintain proper social distancing between staff and donors.
The Blood Center is also expanding hours at many of its donor centers as well as scheduling mobile blood drives to help make up for some of the canceled blood drives. To schedule an appointment, call MVRBC at (800) 747-5401, or schedule online at www.bloodcenter.org or via the Blood Center’s mobile app (info/download: www.bloodcenter.org/app).
Donations have been strong over that last week and helped the Blood Center maintain inventory levels, but as blood drives continue to get canceled, the need for donations continues.
To provide a safe environment for blood donors, the Blood Center is:
- Posting signs at all facilities and collection events asking people not to present to blood drives, to donation centers, or to work if they are experiencing symptoms, if they have been exposed to someone who is being tested for COVID-19, if they have been tested for COVID-19. Scheduling staff are asking these screening questions when scheduling donors over the phone as well.
- Requiring an appointment for blood donation, rather than accepting walk-ins. This will help manage the flow of donor presentation to avoid having too many people at a blood drive or donation center at any one time.
- Prior to donation, donors are asked screened for symptoms of illness (body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level all are checked, and the donor completes a pre-donation Donor History Questionnaire).
- Reiterating existing protocols for keeping environments safe and healthy for workers and donors and are expanding upon existing cleaning and health hygiene practices.
- Donor Services (blood collection) staff are already required to change gloves between donors.
- Maintaining appropriate (six feet) social distancing between staff and donors as much as possible, while recognizing certain interactions in pre-donation screening and phlebotomy require contact between staff and donor.
- Ensuring hand sanitizer is available at all stations at blood collection events.
- Staff at collection events and all facilities are being asked to frequently clean high-touch surfaces.
- Donors are encouraged to use EarlyQ pre-donation screening when possible on the day of donation and to make and keep appointments to moderate the flow of donors through collection operations (www.bloodcenter.org/earlyq).