Versiti Blood Center of Michigan urges blood donation to maintain adequate blood supply
"Patients in our communities and our hospital partners continue to rely on the generosity of blood donors. We rely on each other for this precious resource," said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Abshire. "The donation process itself poses no risk of infecting a donor with coronavirus. Donors and our blood drive sponsors should be reassured that attending organized blood drives is safe. Coronavirus is currently not known to infect patients through blood transfusions."
In some Michigan communities, many blood drives have been canceled and some loyal donors are not keeping appointments – both of which will have a negative effect on the blood supply.
It is critically important that healthy individuals continue to donate blood to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. If the outbreak of coronavirus expands, travel-based restrictions could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors and measures suggested to reduce exposure to other people could disrupt community blood drives and donations at Versiti's donor centers.
Public health officials are supporting continuation of blood donation as critical to health care in our communities. Since it is the blood currently on hand that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive optimal treatment.
Versiti is asking donors who recently traveled to China, Iran, South Korea or Italy to self-defer from donating blood for 28 days from their date of return to the U.S. Those countries are in line with the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel guidelines as the CDC is recommending people avoid nonessential travel to those countries.
Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.
Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-866-642-5663 or visit Versiti online at http://www.versiti.org/
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 70 Michigan hospitals. Versiti Blood Center of Michigan collects more than 114,000 units of blood each year at eight donation centers and through the operation of more than 3,400 community blood drives throughout the state.