Coronavirus concerns: Blood donations dry up as social media rumors fly

FDA says there have been no reported coronavirus cases through transfusion transmission.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Blood donations are drying up and local groups are asking for help to maintain a supply in emergency rooms and for surgeries.

According to LifeSouth, a local blood donation service, there are only two days of blood supply for many of the local hospitals. Without donations, patients could be put in serious trouble soon.

LifeSouth said hundreds of sponsored blood drives have been canceled this week because people are worried about contracting coronavirus at public events. But blood donations are still needed.

One cause for the drop in donations is rumors on social media. One rumor: You can get the coronavirus through a blood donation.

Health officials said that is false.

“Coronavirus is a respiratory illness, it is not a bloodborne pathogen, so there is no concern right now. And there have been no cases of coronavirus being transmitted via blood donation or blood transfusion,” said LifeSouth Community Coordinator Karen Patterson.

The FDA, which regulates blood centers, confirmed there have been no reported cases through transfusion transmission.

However, if local hospitals don’t get the blood they need, emergency rooms and critical surgeries could be delayed or canceled.

Military servicemen and women asking for more blood donations too.

“We are asking if you are eligible to consider donating. Help us to stay mission ready,” said Col. Audra L. Taylor, Combat Support, Defense Health Agency.

Health officials are hoping donors can replenish the community blood supply as the virus spreads, travel bans increase and the ongoing impact of the current flu season affects the number of donors able to give.

They said the need today is equivalent to a major hurricane.

If you would like to donate to help local hospitals, visit LifeSouth.org or call 888-795-2707.

About the Author: