• July 7, 2020

Vitalant to hold blood drive at Music City Mall - Odessa American: News

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Vitalant to hold blood drive at Music City Mall

COVID-19 antibody tests available to all donors

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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020 4:16 pm

Vitalant will hold a three-day blood drive starting Friday at Music City Mall. Donations will be accepted from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Dianne Scott, donor recruitment supervisor for Vitalant, said blood supplies are running behind because of the pandemic.

“We’re in critical need of blood right now because of the two months where we only had four blood drives versus 64 blood drives,” Scott said. “Usually, I have 30 to 32 blood drives a month. During April and May we had eight blood drives.

“I think we got 200 units compared to 800. That’s how much we’re behind. We’re probably at least, I’m going to say, at least 1,000 units behind right now.”

Scott said donations have picked up since restrictions were loosened, but blood banks are still scrambling to make up the shortfall.

“Since June 1, we started having blood drives again,” she said. “I could only have one blood drive a day in the buses, then sometimes we could have a setup. Every day, I try to have at least one blood drive a day.

“Since we started having blood drives, people have been coming out to donate and I do appreciate that. They need to continue to do so.”

The crux of the matter, Scott said, is getting the public to realize donations are still needed even in a time of pandemic.

“Nobody’s ever seen the kind of crazy we’re having now,” she said. “Even though we have had COVID and the world’s in a pandemic, that doesn’t mean we don’t need blood anymore. That’s what I want people to understand and know, the usage is still there. People still have surgeries, people have accidents, people need blood. People still have cancer. People have leukemia.

“People stopped donating and (the need) hasn’t changed. It’s very important that people realize that they need to come out and donate blood.”

In addition to collecting blood, Vitalant is also offering the COVID-19 antibody test to all donors.

“People want to know if they’ve had COVID-19 or not,” Scott said, adding that the disease cannot be transmitted through blood.

Scoot said the pandemic has changed the way Vitalant must conduct its blood drives.

“We used to be able to have two bus drives a day if we needed to,” she said. “Now we can only have one bus drive and take two buses. One of the buses has to be for the interviews and the other one has to be phlebotomy.

“Social distancing and COVID-19 have hit us hard and in a lot more ways than just people not being able to get our and donate.”

Among the precautions being taken, Vitalant is requiring both staff and donors to wear a face covering.

“We’re asking everybody to wear a mask, Scott said. “We wear masks and we want people to wear masks. If they do not have a mask, we will provide them one.”

Scott said the Vitalant staff will be bouncing around the Music City Mall property over the three days of the blood drive.

“The first day, we’re going to be in the two buses in the parking lot behind Fuddruckers,” she said. “The second day, Saturday, we’re going to be inside where the carousel is. Then Sunday we’ll be back in the buses.”

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