MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As the coronavirus continues to sweep across the nation, it’s having another serious side effect- a drastic decrease in blood donations.
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is experiencing an emergency need of all blood types.
“We currently do not have the inventory to supply the local hospitals,“ said LifeSouth South Alabama District Director Sharon Carpenter. “We’re asking that the community come out and help us get out of this emergency.”
LifeSouth said they traditionally see a drop in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. To prepare, they hold community blood drives in the fall. Many of which have been canceled due to COVID-19.
“We don’t have that adequate blood supply going into the holidays so it’s just making this situation worse,” Carpenter said.
All blood donated to LifeSouth stays in the area where it’s donated, making LifeSouth the only source of blood for some local hospitals.
“When we don’t have the blood, the hospitals don’t have the blood,” Carpenter said. “It can be a scary situation, especially for traumas.”
A drop in blood donors also means a drop in those donating convalescent plasma.
“Convalescent plasma is requested daily from us,” Carpenter said. “That comes from any of our donors that have recovered from COVID. It will have the antibodies inside the plasma to help a current COVID patient inside the hospital.”
Ginger Cofty, a LifeSouth donor, gave blood for that exact reason.
“I had COVID early on. My son and my husband also had COVID and my son wound up in the hospital,” Cofty said. “I realize the severity of it, and I just want to do what I can do to help out.”
“It’s really up to the community to come out, donate blood and help us get us out of this deficit so that we can supply the hospitals and help patients when they need it,” Carpenter said.
LifeSouth is taking all precautions necessary to eliminate the spread of COVID-19. A limited number of people are allowed to donate at once, masks are required to be worn at all times, and sanitation procedures are in place.
LifeSouth is open seven days a week for donations.
As an incentive to gain more donors, anyone who donates the weekend after Thanksgiving, between Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, will receive a $13 Fandango gift certificate.
Donors must be at least 17 or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is needed. LifeSouth’s donor centers are open and are located in Montgomery, Dothan and Opelika.
For additional information about donating visit www.lifesouth.org