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Blood donors needed to keep supply strong as pandemic continues

Though this summer may feel different than summers past, one thing remains constant: The need for blood donations to help save lives, according to a press release. The American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to give blood to restock the shelves for patients battling disease and facing the unexpected.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country have stepped up to help by giving blood with the Red Cross. Blood donations from healthy individuals are just as essential now to meet patient needs, and those who gave this spring may be eligible to help again.

Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give Aug. 1 through Sept. 3 will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card via email. Those who give by Aug. 31 will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm, redeemable through the 2021 season.

Help more people by hosting a blood drive

The Red Cross is also looking for blood drive hosts this fall to help ensure a stable blood supply. There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, and while cases increase across the country, blood drives continue to be canceled at an alarming rate as many businesses, schools and community organizations remain closed.

Because about 80% of blood donations are made at blood drives hosted by these groups, the Red Cross urgently needs the help of both blood donors and blood drive hosts to ensure blood products are readily available for patients. Learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Blood donation safety precautions

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Upcoming area blood donation opportunities

• 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kiester Community Center, Highway 22 in Kiester

• Noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 6 Bridge Community Church, 2016 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea

• 1 to 6 p.m. Aug. 12 New Richland City Hall, 203 Broadway Ave. N. in New Richland

About blood donation

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.