COVID-19 has put a halt to big blood drives, making shelves bare from the dwindling supply of blood.
Karen Patterson, the Community Development Coordinator for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers said the virus is so bad, “it’s affected [blood supplies] pretty badly, it’s pretty significant.”
That's why LifeSouth will test for the virus’ antibodies, hoping to get more blood donors in the door.
The need for blood is rapidly increasing with elective surgeries beginning again and with hospitals continuing to treat traumas and other diseases.
“People don’t realize we need the blood at the time of the disaster to actually save lives. So the time to donate is now,” said Patterson.
Testing for the virus antibodies helps identify people who may be able to donate plasma, which can be a critical tool in helping patients affected by the virus. But knowing if you have those antibodies can also provide some comfort to those donating.
“There are so many people who have been asymptomatic with the disease, there are still a lot of unknowns with it so this is a good extra piece of confidence for you,” said Patterson.
Donors will be contacted if they have COVID-19 antibodies.
One blood donation alone can save up to three lives. Donations from LifeSouth go to Wolfson Children’s, Baptist, Memorial hospitals and Orange Park Medical Center.
LifeSouth needs donors for all blood types, but they’re in critical need of type O and B blood donors.
Blood drives will be occurring throughout May and June.