The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has impacted every state.  The number of positive cases continues to rise faster by the day as more people are tested. Many people feel unsure of what to do to help while also keeping themselves safe. The Red Cross may have an answer for that.

Most of the blood drives for the Red Cross are hosted by schools and colleges. With these institutions on shutdown status, 4,500 drives have been cancelled. This will result in 150,000 fewer donations. The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to this unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during the coronavirus outbreak. During this shortage, healthy donors are desperately needed. Many patients count on this life-saving treatment. 

Krista Farley, with the Red Cross, said that the Donation Center at 3210 Dudley Ave. in Parkersburg, WV (26101) will have collections today, Friday, March 20. Next week they’ll have appointments on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. They are taking extra precautions to ensure donor safety, from taking temperatures and providing sanitizer before entry to spacing beds further apart. 

Restrictions on giving can be found at  Donors are encouraged to make an appointment on that website, by phone at 1-800-RedCross, or via the free donor app (under Red Cross in the App Store). On the app, donors can get a Rapid Pass by completing a questionnaire. The app will give a QR barcode, which the staff will scan when the donor arrives, saving time and limiting exposure. Donation usually takes no more than an hour – often less if the donor completes the survey in advance.

If you have never given blood before, know that your donation can help save up to three lives and the need for blood is constant. To give, you need to be in good general health, be at least 17 years old in most states (16 years old with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds, and have not donated blood in the last 56 days.