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Home > Mercy News > Blood Donors Urgently Needed to Meet Patient Need
Published on June 11, 2020
Cedar Rapids hospitals are joining forces with the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) in a call for blood donors to step forward. The need for blood donors is driven by increasing levels of activity at both hospitals and a high number of blood drive cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. MVRBC projects it will lose nearly 20,000 donations from cancelled blood drives between March and August of this year.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations that host mobile blood drives have been forced to cancel or postpone events due to temporary closures, work from home policies and other factors,” said Amanda Hess, MVRBC donor and public relations director.
In March and April, local hospitals reduced patient care options to prioritize response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By postponing elective surgeries, demand for blood components dropped by approximately 40% compared with normal levels. But, increasing levels of activity at the Cedar Rapids hospitals has increased the demand for blood.
Hospitals are now supporting additional patient care options they had previously postponed – such as joint replacement and other elective surgeries – and have seen ongoing use of blood components for trauma, urgent surgeries, cancer treatment and other critical care throughout the pandemic.
“Blood donation is a selfless act and a robust blood supply is imperative for a functioning healthcare system,” said Dr. Dustin Arnold, UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids chief medical officer. “Whether it be from trauma or illness, acute blood loss is a life-threatening condition.”
“We often get inquiries from the community about how they can help the hospital at this difficult time. Giving blood is a very tangible way of providing that help,” said Dr. Tony Myers, vice president of system quality, risk and medical affairs at Mercy Cedar Rapids. “Blood donation can be done safely, and it does help save lives.”
Through June 28, all blood donors will receive a voucher for a $5 gift card, and from June 12-28, donors will receive double points in the Blood Center’s donor loyalty store. The voucher for the $5 gift card is redeemable online or by phone for the donor’s choice of Amazon.com, Target, Subway, Burger King, iTunes/App Store, Applebee’s, Olive Garden or Domino’s. Donors are awarded double points to use in the IMPACT Loyalty Store on select days of the year when donations are needed most. Points can be banked and then used to purchase apparel and other gifts in the Blood Center IMPACT Donor Loyalty Store. (For example, coolers, umbrellas or pop sockets.)
MVRBC has many safeguards in place to protect staff and blood donors. For example, appointments are now required to donate blood; donors and staff must wear masks; continuous cleaning takes place between donors; all donors are screened for symptoms of illness prior to blood donation; and social distancing at the donation site is followed.
Donors may schedule an appointment to give blood at an MVRBC Donor Center or nearby mobile blood drive by calling (800) 747-5401. For online scheduling: www.bloodcenterimpact.org or via the IMPACT mobile app: www.bloodcenter.org/app.