U.S. blood banks are concerned about possible scarcity as Americans fear to catch the new coronavirus avoid donation sites and firms with employees working from home cancel blood drives.
There has indeed been scarcity over the last week in Washington that led other blood banks to take blood in from outside the area, based on Brian Gannon, who operates the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (GCRBC) and chairs a disaster task force for the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB,). Supplies in New York had been low due to blood drive cancellations, he stated.
Most blood facilities attempt to keep an inventory of a three-day supply, based on the AABB.
The disease has so far infected over 800 in the U.S. and killed 28, principally in Washington state.
The blood supply in Seattle began to slump at the start of the month, according to Bloodworks Northwest, which collects and distributes blood across the Northwest U.S.
Finson stated 60% of Bloodworks Northwest’s blood is from mobile blood drives, and the effort to have staff work from home has resulted in many being called off.
The AABB task force guided by Gannon sent 600 units of blood to Seattle over the weekend, he stated.
He’s encouraging people and sponsors of blood drives to schedule appointments and keep their promises, and that blood banks around the nation can proceed with shifting supply to where it’s necessary.