Before the New Year the Rhode Island Blood Center announced the region’s third blood emergency of 2021.
As of this week the crisis continues with enough blood supply for only one to two days. The ideal inventory is seven days worth, RIBC said.
“During this unprecedented time, adequate blood supply has been critically low. Blood is essential in allowing us to provide the most advanced pediatric medical care to our young patients,” Phyllis A. Dennery, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician-in-Chief and Medical Director of Hasbro Children’s Hospital said in a statement. “ Hasbro has the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Rhode Island and is staffed around the clock. If we all do our part by donating blood, we will make a real difference to ensure that we are ready for any emergency.”
As of recently blood centers have had issues with appointments needing to be canceled due to COVID.
With spikes in the Omicrom variant, Kara LeBlanc, spokesperson for RIBC said that they have had over 1,500 donors cancel appointments by call, text, or email, between Dec.26 and Jan. 13.
“That does not account for donors who log directly into the donor portal to cancel their own so that number may be higher. Additionally, we've had over 450 no-shows,” said LeBlanc. “When we're able to speak with those donors because they call in to cancel, the majority of them are either quarantined or sick with COVID.”
LeBlanc said that being able to collect blood is critical for healthcare.
“The blood that is donated with nonprofit community blood centers like ours is what supplies the local hospitals,” said LeBlanc. “Healthcare providers have been there for us throughout the pandemic, and the least we can do for them is donate to give them some peace of mind that what they need to treat their patients will be there, especially since the community blood supply is for all of us - you, me, our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues. We are all just a breath away from knowing what it means to need it there.”
According to LeBlanc Blood centers across the country are suffering from shortages that have never rebounded to safe levels for the community throughout the past 19 months of the pandemic. Some of the factors that RIBC cited for this trend include:
For National Blood Donor Month LeBlanc said that each week during January all presenting donors are automatically entered to win a $500 e-gift card that can be used at over 200 retailers nationwide. She said that there is also a monthly drawing to win a mirror home gym with a 1-year membership.
The RIBC says that donating blood takes one hour and that the Blood Center is taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. While anyone can donate blood regardless of vaccination status all RIBC staff are vaccinated. Questions about eligibility can be emailed to RIBC’s medical team at email@example.com.
Donors are asked to make appointments by going to ribc.org or by calling 401-453-8383. Walk-ins can only be accepted if safe social-distancing is allowed at time of arrival.
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