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Blood shortage in Arizona since coronavirus

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FDA urging people to donate blood, it's safe.

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - An urgent call to action coming from the Food and Drug Administration.

As coronavirus fears intensify, blood donations are always needed to avoid supply depletion.

Four-year-old Adelyn's life depends on the blood transfusions she receives in Phoenix every 3-4 weeks.

However, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, roughly 175 blood drives in Arizona have been canceled.

This has resulted in a loss of nearly 5,200 blood donations for Arizona patients, like Adelyn.

News 11 called Vitalant, Yuma Regional Medical Center’s main blood supplier, to ask, how safe is it to donate blood with the coronavirus still spreading?

Sue Thew from Vitalant said, “It is absolutely safe to donate blood. It is considered an essential function.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services backs that up in a statement saying in part “It is safe to donate blood,” and “part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply.”

Blood donation centers are practicing all of the proper procedures to ensure no one is exposed to coronavirus.

Charly McMurdie from the American Red Cross in Yuma said, “Anytime you come in to donate blood, whether you’re at a Red Cross facility or a hospital facility, they go through some major screening tests to make sure that you’re able to donate.”

Thew says Vitalant blood donation centers are disinfecting all of the surfaces between donors.

The company is also practicing social distancing by seating donors a minimum of six feet apart.

"Donors who have traveled to high-risk areas are being deferred from donating blood. Our staff are wearing gloves, and everything used in the donation process is single-use,” Thew said.

Also, if you’re sick you should not donate.

“As much as you would love to, we appreciate the fact that you want to [donate] but wait until you’re well,” said McMurdie.

Locating a blood drive near you is as simple as typing in your zip code on websites like Vitalant or the American Red Cross.

There you’ll find local donation sites.

El Centro Regional Medical Center has partnered with Lifestream to bring a blood drive to the valley tomorrow from 10 am to 3 pm.

It only takes one hour to save lives.

Arizona News / Coronavirus / Top Stories

Aziza Shuler

Aziza Shuler joined KYMA in March 2019 wearing many hats including the newest anchor and producer for FOX 9, as well as a multi-media journalist for KYMA.


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