Blood donations in demand during COVID-19 pandemic

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Blood drives everywhere have had to cancel or postpone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Community Blood Bank in Sioux Falls has been able to schedule pop-up drives, and even take part in some partnerships with local businesses to fill the demand.

Every blood drive makes a difference, and that’s especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why Siouxland Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is hosting a blood drive with the Community Blood Bank.

“Dr. Miller and I really like to stress, you know, especially being on the surgical end of things, the importance of blood products and how dramatically it can save lives,” Dr. Lou George said.

Executive director for the Community Blood Bank, Ken Versteeg, says blood drives are making a huge impact right now with blood in high demand.

“We’re begging our community to come out and give blood. In fact, this last week we wound up struggling with our blood supply, to the point where we had to call a critical shortage, which means that we have about a 72 hour supply of blood on the shelves for our community,” Versteeg said.

But as soon as the shortage was announced he says the community answered the call and donations began coming in.

Even so, he says it’ll take at least another week to build the supply back up.

“The hope is to see people continue to donate next week and into the weeks of the final ends, final week of summer,” Versteeg said.

In an effort to keep people safe the Community Blood Bank is only seeing seven donors per hour in order to fully sanitize between each donor.

That’s why Siouxland Oral’s blood drive is being held by appointment only. But before it even started the 50 appointment slots filled up.

“Folks are realizing the importance of showing up and getting this done. And we hope that the next time we do a blood drive, we will have to expand that appointment list,” George said.

“I mean, you know, these products save people’s lives and who knows, you know, you might be the next one that needs it. So it’s good to donate,” Dr. Denis Miller said.

“During COVID there’s a lot of uncertainties in our community. Please don’t make it uncertain that we have enough blood in our community to do the medical treatments that we need to do,” Versteeg said.

The Community Blood Bank will be hosting more blood drives next week.

To take a look at their schedule and sign-up for an appointment, click here.

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