As elective surgeries return, Memorial Blood Centers makes urgent call for donations

Memorial Blood Centers has issued an urgent call for donations, citing "dangerously low" supply levels.

In a release, officials wrote that as hospitals resume elective surgeries, the need for blood is increasing while the supply is very low.

"In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right now, reserves are far below that minimum," MBC wrote.

Blood donors needed: Make an appointment to donate blood at these Minnesota locations

With schools and businesses closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, blood centers across the state have had many of their blood drives canceled, leading to concerns about a blood shortage in the future. 

Mobile blood drives hosted by schools, organizations, and businesses make up more than half of the region’s incoming blood supply. But, due to COVID-19, drives have been cancelled during March, April, and early May.

MBC will begin holding a limited number of mobile blood drives this month, but officials said the capacity will not be sufficient to meet the needs of area hospitals. So, donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment at one of MBC’s six donor centers throughout the metro area. The centers also extended hours to help meet these needs.

“At this unprecedented time, this is one thing you can do to help someone who desperately needs it," said Dr. Nancy Van Buren, MD, Associate Medical Director of MBC. "We have extended hours at our donor centers and a donor self- screening policy in place for COVID-19, and we’re requiring donors to schedule an appointment to visit one of these controlled, safe environments.”

Officials are reminding the public that blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and staff are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. According to MBC, staff are also practicing health self-assessments prior to starting work.

People are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection, or flu-like symptoms.

Donors can schedule appointments by calling 1-888-448-3253 (888-GIVE-BLD) or visiting MBC.ORG.