WASHINGTON — The American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to donate blood to help maintain a sufficient supply and prevent shortages as concerns over the coronavirus rises.
Cold and flu season has already impacted the nation's ability to maintain its blood supply, according to the American Red Cross. 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.
"We're asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it's critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients," said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. "As fears of the coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most."
Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood, according to the American Red Cross. There are no data or evidence that this 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.
The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org.