Blood banks in need of donors during pandemic

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Face masks and respirators aren’t the only vital medical resources in short supply.

There’s also a critical need for blood donations.

Blood banks are seeing a shortage in supply, since blood drives that are normally held at schools and businesses have had to close their doors.

Vitalant, which is the nation’s second largest blood collector, has had nearly 2,000 blood drives canceled in the last month.

So on Friday, around 150 people rolled up their sleeves and donated blood at the vacant Herberger’s store at the Rushmore Mall.

This blood drive is held annually on Good Friday to help replenish the blood supply.

But this year, the event is more important then ever.

“I know its a scary time for people and we definitely understand or sympathetic to people’s fears about coming out and donating blood during this time,” Volunteer Blood Drive Coordinator Joe Burmeister said. “But the need is still very inherit as you stated and we need to still fill that gap where we can.”

While donors may be worried about giving blood, Vitalant says its staff is taking extra precautions by disinfecting all surfaces and equipment and checking the donor’s temperatures before signing in at the front desk.

“They have the chairs all sitting far apart,” said donor Rhonda Fetch. “When they bring you back, they all have masks on and gloves. They cleaned everything you touched before and after you met with them to do you interview.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there have not been any cases so far of COVID-19 being transmitted through blood transfusion.

If you would like to donate blood, Vitalant in Rapid City is open seven days a week.

Blood Donation Hours:

Mon-Wed    7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Thur.            10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fri.                10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sat.                7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sun.              9 a.m. to 1 p.m.



Categories: Coronavirus, Local News