Learn how the Office of Emergency Management rolled up their sleeves (literally) to help – and how you can too
SALEM – When COVID-19 forced the cancelation of dozens of planned blood drives, Oregonians were encouraged to make an appointment to donate blood. Of course, blood donation centers are taking every precaution to ensure donating is safe, including screening, sanitizing, and social distancing.
In addition to still being safe, donating blood is also allowed under Governor Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives order. Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, recently said he was, “worried about potential blood shortages,” encouraging Americans that they “can still go out and give blood.”
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which is supporting the statewide response to the COVID-19 outbreak, answered that call. On March 27, 2020, they held a mobile blood drive at OEM’s Salem location, where 39 units were collected; that’s a little under 5 gallons of blood. According to the Red Cross, one donation can save up to three lives, so by that math, the 39 units donated at OEM will possibly save 117 lives.
“It warms my heart to hear that Oregonians are stepping up to help each other in these unprecedented times,” said Governor Brown. “Even through social distancing, we can show up for each other in small ways that have a huge impact.”
Plus, the need for blood is only going to keep increasing. “The need is certainly real and the demand for blood will significantly increase once the hospitals start re-scheduling surgeries that were cancelled due to the coronavirus,” says Mark Smith of Bloodworks Northwest, a nonprofit that stocks blood to more than 80 hospitals specifically in the Pacific Northwest.