COVID-19 Causing Critical Blood Shortage

Sibley, Iowa — Schools not being in session and people being afraid to be out and about has caused some real issues with the blood supply in northwest Iowa.

That from Community Blood Bank Executive Director Ken Ver Steeg. He says the situation is presenting a challenge to blood banks.

(as said:)”We center our spring collections around high school and college students — people that donate blood for the very first time — and when college students and high schools are not hosting blood drives and are unable to go to school, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain an adequate supply of blood.”

He tells us one thing they’re trying to do to bolster the supply.

(as said:)”We call them emergency pop-up blood drives and these events are happening throughout the region. These are opportunities for people to help support the blood supply when these cancellations are occurring and it’s just a way to show that we’re going to have a stable blood supply in the community for weeks to come.”

Unfortunately, says Ver Steeg, they believe the depression in the blood supply may be a long-term struggle, lasting perhaps two or three months.

He tells us that no one should be concerned about coming to give blood, as they follow all the applicable standards.

(as said:)”We are — according to the CDC, according to FDA guidelines, and American Association of Blood Banks — we are following all sanitizing standards on the Bloodmobile as well to ensure that people are safe when they come out to give blood. We do adhere to the CDC regulations or suggestions of no more than 10 people gathering. As people come in the door to donate we’ll register them and we will probably have them sit for a few minutes prior to sending them out to the Bloodmobile because we need to limit the amount of people that are on the Bloodmobile donating blood at one given time.”

Ver Steeg says if they have a number of people waiting, they may give you a time to come back so that they can comply with social distancing requirements. According to Ver Steeg, they have a few more screening questions in this time of COVID-19, and they will take your temperature before sending you to the bloodmobile.

According to Ver Steeg, there is an opportunity for you to help with the low blood supply this upcoming week in Sibley.

(as said:)”We’re going to be at Osceola Regional Health Center this next Wednesday, March 25th. It’s an opportunity for people in that community to come out and give. We’re going to be there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. And we do ask that you guys come on in and support the local blood supply. Now if you choose to make an appointment, you can definitely do that by calling Osceola Regional Health Center at 712-754-2574.”

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