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WSU Tri-Cities to host blood drive to help address drop in donations

RICHLAND, Wash. – To help stem the decrease in donations in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, WSU Tri-Cities is hosting a blood drive on Friday, March 27, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Consolidated Information Center or CIC on 2770 Crimson Way in rooms 210, 212 and 214.  All healthy adults in the Tri-City area are encouraged to donate.

More than 5,000 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled across the United States, mainly due to many offices and schools closing to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Red Cross estimates the cancellations will result in about 170,000 fewer donations. In Oregon and Washington alone, more than 222 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, resulting in about 6,000 fewer blood donations.

WSU Tri-Cities is one of the many college campuses across the country that have moved to online instruction, but because of the pressing need for blood donations, the WSU student government association, Office of Student Affairs and the Red Cross decided to work together to hold the annual blood drive.

“We’re opening up the blood drive to the entire community, not just students, hoping that will bring more donors,” said Jennifer Martinez, a WSU nursing student and student coordinator for the blood drive. “We’ve been in contact with the Red Cross every day, helping make sure that things are going to be ready and prepared for them and for donors.”

The campus and the Red Cross are taking extra care to address concerns about transmission of COVID-19. Staff will change gloves between each donor, hand sanitizer will be available in all areas, and donor beds will be sanitized after every participant. Donors will have their temperature taken before giving blood, and staff will also have a temperature check before starting work.

The campus has arranged all the building areas so that there is at least six feet between participants and good flow from registration through donation and recovery. The custodial staff will also be on campus to provide extra sanitization.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that appropriate precautions are being taken,” Scott Tomren, WSU Tri-Cities environmental health and safety coordinator.

Donors should also know that there is no correlation with COVID-19 or any other respiratory illness and transfusion to a patient, said Shana Loomis of the Red Cross.

While blood isn’t needed to treat COVID-19 cases, the virus doesn’t stop the continued demand for blood supplies for many other healthcare needs, including cancer treatments, trauma accidents and complications from childbirth.

“The need is actually increasing with the fewer donors that we’re seeing right now,” Loomis said.

To sign up for the WSU Tri-Cities blood drive or a future drive, visit: redcrossblood.org and use the zip code search to locate a drive in your area.