Blood drives

The Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank, the primary blood supplier to hospitals in central Pennsylvania, has put out a call for help due its supply falling to historically low levels.

The bank usually has more than 900 units of O Positive blood available for local hospitals. In a Thursday news release, the bank announced it had less then half its usual supply and is struggling to fill requests of 26 local hospitals.

Multiple factors have impacted the supply, including bloodmobiles, the bank’s primary method for blood drives, being taken off the road due to social distancing protocols; a nationwide blood shortage, which impedes its ability to call on another blood bank for help boosting the supply; and general concerns about the pandemic keeping potential donors from giving blood.

“Blood donation is safe,” the news release reads. “The scheduling program allows for proper social distancing, and hand-washing safety standards have long been in place. All staff wear masks and employ vigorous cleaning procedures between donors. The staff and donors’ temperatures are taken at the beginning of the process. Donors arriving without masks are provided one.”

Donors are offered a COVID-19 antibody test at blood drives, the Hershey Donor Center, Lancaster Donor Center, Ephrata Donor Center, and East Harrisburg Donor Center, and those who test positive for the antibodies may help patients who have COVID-19.

To donate, contact the blood bank at 717giveblood.org, call 800-771-0059 or find Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank on Facebook.

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