As people work to grasp what is okay to do and what is not in light of Gov. Whitmer’s stay at home directive which began at midnight, health care officials want you to know that you can continue to donate blood at donor centers or community blood drives during the pandemic. In fact, the need is as strong as ever.
With the stay-at-home directives now implemented in Michigan, the Federal government has issued a guidance around COVID-19 related to blood donation. That guidance reminds you that Versiti Blood Center of Michigan donor centers, including the one in St. Joseph, and community blood drives across the state remain open because of the critical nature of blood donation to our country. Healthy donors are still needed to ensure an adequate blood supply.
According to the governor’s executive order, individuals are allowed to leave their residence for Healthcare and Public Health Operations. That includes “organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma, and other necessary materials.”
Veersiti’s dedicated teams are committed to serving donors and collect life-saving donations in environments which often will involve more than ten people within a physical space. This exception is supported by the agency, as well as the directors of agencies such as HHS, FEMA, the Food and Drug Administration, and CISA of the Department of Homeland Security.
Chief Medical Officer Thomas Abshire says, “This is an extraordinary time in our country and for the healthcare community, of which Versiti Blood Center of Illinois is a critical partner,” and adds, “Versiti Blood Center of Michigan supplies blood to nearly 80 hospitals across the state. It is critically important to maintain an adequate blood supply so these hospitals can deliver life-saving blood products to trauma patients and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.”
Ensuring blood donor and staff safety
Staff at Versiti donor centers and community blood drives are using precautions consistent with the CDC and the American Association of Blood Banks recommendations while collecting donations. Those include:
- Prescreening both staff and donors for COVID-19 symptoms
- Complying with social distancing throughout the donation process
- Beds six feet apart and/or separated by a partition
- Wiping down surface areas and beds
- Providing only packaged snack and drinks
Due to the generous response from blood donors, it is best to schedule an appointment, call 1-866-642-5663 or visit Versiti.org/Michigan
Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, formerly Michigan Blood, has collected blood throughout the state since 1955. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, the non-profit organization provides blood products and services to nearly 80 Michigan hospitals. Versiti collects more than 114,000 units of blood each year in Michigan at eight donation centers, including one in St. Joseph, and through the operation of more than 3,400 community blood drives throughout the state.