Coronavirus scare leaves RI Blood Center in urgent need of donors

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) is calling upon the community to help strengthen the region’s blood supply as coronavirus concerns persist.

In response to the virus, a few blood drives, hosted by schools, organizations and businesses, have been canceled, according to the R.I. Blood Center.

With 50% of the region’s blood donations coming from these drives, the blood donation center says this poses a significant threat. They are hoping to double the blood supply in the event that these cancellations continue.

“Ultimately, we are concerned about shortages that may evolve in the next couple of weeks as coronavirus developments continue,” Kara LeBlanc, marketing communications manager for the R.I. Blood Center said.

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The center says blood supply must be consistently replenished because it is perishable. It also says donations are needed for childbirth complications, cancer treatments, trauma victims, disease, surgery and organ transplants, among other medical uses.

“Whatever is happening out there related to coronavirus fears, all of those things [medical emergencies] don’t stop because of that,” LeBlanc said.

The center says one in seven hospital admissions require blood transfusions. Because of that, the center says the goal is to get nearly 250 donations daily. Right now, the center says it’s only achieving about 85% of that goal.

Those who have traveled to areas with coronavirus outbreaks or have come in contact with anyone with a confirmed case are encouraged to refrain from donating, along with anyone experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.

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