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American Red Cross needs volunteers, blood donors

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 6:39 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The American Red Cross is not only in urgent need of blood donations during this pandemic, the organization is also seeking volunteers in the Tri-Cities.

Because of the coronavirus, staff now has to take extra safety measures and health precautions at all blood drives and donation sites. This includes wearing masks, temperature checks and vamped up cleaning of beds and surfaces before and after use.

So staff can focus on the people giving blood, volunteers will screen potential donors at the door.

“With COVID-19 and our new policies and procedures, we have an additional step that we’re just needing a little help,” said Jeremy Aupperlee, account manager for the Red Cross. “It’s a little hard for our staff to attend a donor and screen donors when they’re coming in.”

Thousands of blood drives are cancelled across the country, resulting in about half a million fewer blood donations.

Just in Central Nebraska, Aupperlee said about 25 drives had to be cancelled.

“All of our high school and college donors, we had to cancel all those drives. A lot of our business’ drives had to cancel. A lot of our community drives were smaller than we expected in the past. So we’re really low on donors than what we are typically at,” Aupperlee said.

The ‘Battle of the Badges’ blood drive in June across the Tri-Cities is one of the few that didn’t get cancelled this year. Aupperlee said they collected around 350 units of blood at the drives - a good start to increasing the blood supply.

With summer a typically slow time for blood donations, Aupperlee said they’re asking people to consider donating blood while they still can. He said they’d especially like to see younger, less at-risk people donate.

Since all of Nebraska is now in Phase 3 of reopening, there are more opportunities and places to donate blood. You can find a location near you here.

For a limited time, the Red Cross is offering free COVID-19 antibody testing for all eligible donors. Those who donate between July 1 and July 31 will also be automatically entered for a chance to win an authentic WONDER WOMAN 1984 movie prop replica package.

The Red Cross also encourages people who fully recovered from the coronavirus to consider donating plasma. Their antibodies can attack the virus, and help patients with a serious case of the infection.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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