March 31, 2021 (Duluth, MN) – Amid the ongoing challenges of recruiting blood donors during the COVID-19 pandemic, local nonprofit Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) is facing a shortage of blood and platelet donations.
The need for blood is constant, but due to the pandemic, many drives have been canceled or postponed. To replenish supplies for the Northland’s hospitals, trauma centers, and air ambulance bases, more healthy donors are needed at blood drives and donor centers in the coming weeks. Appointments can be made online at MBC.ORG or by calling (888) GIVE-BLD (888-448-3253).
Before COVID-19, donors could stop by community blood drives at convenient locations like high schools, colleges, offices and places of worship. It has been nearly one year since these groups had to cancel their blood drives due to COVID-19, and fewer than 50 percent have been able to resume these life-saving events. Despite this tremendous decrease in blood drives and blood donations, patients in community hospitals continue to need transfusions.
A small number of community blood drives have resumed with enhanced precautions, and MBC is strongly encouraging donors to make appointments to visit a blood drive or donor center.
“It’s been a year since we began implementing significant safety protocols at our donor centers, said Kathy Geist, Senior Executive Director Memorial Blood Centers. “We have extended those safety measures at the community blood drives that have been able to restart.”
Blood donation is safe and essential, and MBC has a COVID-19 self-screening policy in addition to general eligibility guidelines. In general, you may be eligible to donate if you meet the following:
• In good health
• 17 years or older— or 16 with written parental consent (PDF available on MBC.ORG)
• At least 110 pounds
• Free of antibiotics for 24 hours, unless taken for preventative reasons
• Symptom-free for at least 72 hours following a cold or flu
Visit MBC.ORG to find the nearest drive or donor center, or to make an appointment at one of the local public blood drives below:
• April 2, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 40 Eastern Avenue, Drummond High School, Drummond