editCHAMPAIGN – Blood centers around the state are facing a decrease in blood donation appointments and cancellation of blood drives due to COVID-19. Under the circumstances, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging those willing and able to donate blood.
“While our national attention is on the coronavirus, other health issues – like anemia, serious injuries, surgeries, and cancer patients that require blood – continue at pre-pandemic rates,” Bennett said. “If you are healthy and eligible, it is critical to donate now.”
The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and has emphasized that individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 from donating blood. There is also no known risk of the safety of the nation’s blood supply, only the adequacy of the supply at this time.
“While staying home and minimizing contact with others is recommended, it’s even more vital now that healthy people donate blood to maintain a safe and adequate blood supply,” Bennett said. “Blood collection saves lives.” 
Donor centers implemented a disaster plan and are reiterating existing protocol to keep environments safe and healthy for workers and donors. Donor services staff are already required to change gloves between donors and offer hand sanitizer at each station. Now, they have expanded upon existing cleaning and health hygiene practices. Centers are also encouraging donors to use EarlyQ the day of donation to take your donor history blood questionnaire at home.
The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center advised to not give blood if you have been diagnosed with or are being tested for COVID-19, been within six feet of someone who has the virus or is being tested for the virus, or if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Donor centers are following recommendations from local, state and federal health agencies to keep staff, volunteers, and donors safe. For questions or concerns, please contact the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center at 800-747-5401 or visit bloodcenter.org.

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