The American Red Cross in South Florida announced it would be partnering with OneBlood to prevent blood shortages in the state amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Across the country, blood drives have been cancelled rapidly as the shutdown of schools, malls, churches and other businesses becomes more widespread.
"The Red Cross has witnessed nearly 4,500 of its blood drives cancel across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak," the organization said in a press release. "These cancellations have resulted in 150,000 fewer blood donations."
The Red Cross does not collect blood in Florida, so its partnership with OneBlood, a donation center that offers service in Tampa Bay, South, Southeast and Central Florida areas, will allow the organization to maintain a blood supply in the state.
“The need for blood is constant. Blood drive cancellations like the number we have been witnessing can impact cancer patients and car crash victims,” said Joanne Nowlin, CEO for the Red Cross's South Florida Region in a statement.
“We, the Red Cross, do not collect blood in South Florida but we are grateful to establish a partnership with OneBlood to encourage individuals to help people in need and donate blood today.”
Innovative Transfusion Medicine, a local non-profit blood center serving Hospitals throughout the United States, announced Friday it was also in need of donations.
Donating blood is a safe process: there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.
As the number of COVID-19 cases grows in the U.S., the number of people eligible to give blood for patients in need could decrease further.
For more information on OneBlood and how to donate with The American Red Cross, check out OneBlood's website. To contact Innovative Transfusion Medicine, call (786) 406-2734 or visit their main facility at 5753 Miami Lakes Drive.