(INDIANAPOLIS) – Versiti Blood Center of Indiana is urging Hoosiers to schedule and keep their blood donation appointments at donor centers and organized blood drives throughout the state even as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to ensure the continued adequacy of the local blood supply.
“Patients in our communities and our hospital partners continue to rely on the generosity of blood donors. We rely on each other for this precious resource,” said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Abshire. “The donation process itself poses no risk of infecting a donor with coronavirus. Donors and our blood drive sponsors should be reassured that attending organized blood drives is safe. Coronavirus is currently not known to infect patients through blood transfusions.”
In some Indiana communities, many blood drives have been canceled and some loyal donors are not keeping appointments – both of which will have a negative effect on the blood supply.
It is critically important that healthy individuals continue to donate blood to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. If the outbreak of coronavirus expands, travel-based restrictions could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors and measures suggested to reduce exposure to other people could disrupt community blood drives and donations at Versiti’s donor centers.
Public health officials are supporting continuation of blood donation as critical to health care in our communities. Since it is the blood currently on hand that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive optimal treatment.
Versiti is asking donors who recently traveled to China, Iran, South Korea or Italy to self-defer from donating blood for 28 days from their date of return to the U.S. Those countries are in line with the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel guidelines as the CDC is recommending people avoid nonessential travel to those countries.
Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to donate blood. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.
Appointments are encouraged at any of Versiti’s seven donor centers in Indiana and at any local community blood drive. But walk-ins are always welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 317-916-5150 or visit Versiti online at http://www.versiti.org/Indiana.
More than 90,000 Indiana residents each year give blood through Versiti Blood Center of Indiana, formerly Indiana Blood Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1952 that operates blood donation centers in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Greenwood, Lafayette, Terre Haute and Highland. The center also operates thousands of mobile and community blood drives each year throughout the state. Versiti provides a continuous and safe supply of blood and biological services to more than 80 Indiana hospitals and their patients and beyond.