HOUSTON - The COVID-19 outbreak is wreaking havoc on the nation’s blood supply. It’s reached such a critical state the Director of the FDA says the country needs donors to “start turning out in force to give blood”.
Houston is also suffering in this blood supply shortage. In fact, shelves at Houston’s Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center are overwhelmingly empty and the center needs blood donors desperately.
"Because there is a shortage we need donors to come out and make those donations,” says Theresa Pina, VP of Operations for Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.
There’s been such a significant drop in blood donation this past week, Houston’s blood supply shelves are predominantly bare as church, school and business blood drives have been canceled.
"We have a need for all blood types because donations are down across the city of Houston but what we’re really looking for are O+ and O- blood. That’s the blood type that we need most critical at this point because O+ and O- are most commonly used".
The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center wants you to know they are taking extra precautions during this COVID19 outbreak to keep donors safe.
"We’re using all of our standard precautions but we’ve also added some additional things. Most of the things you would touch as a donor are either disinfected between every use or they’re one-time use,” Pina explains. If Houstonians don’t donate blood Pina fears that will put lives in danger. "When you’re going out to restock your pantry or restock your refrigerator stop by and donate blood and help us restock ours as well".
Pina points out, donated blood is screened for all respiratory viruses.
To avoid crowds of people arriving to donate blood at the same time she suggests you make an appointment to donate and don't just show up.
She’s also encouraging Houstonians to host a blood drive. If you don’t know how the blood center has a whole team dedicated to helping you.