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  #51  
Old 03-27-2020, 04:28 PM
Bill Door is offline
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At the blood donation center in Wilmington, NC today there was a sign asking donors with O+, O-, A-, and B- blood types to donate a double red blood cell donation if possible. They took my temperature outside of the building in the parking lot. I don't know what would have happened if I'd had a fever, but I suspect they wouldn't have let me in.

While I was donating I heard a couple of the phlebotomists talking. Someone had walked in trying to donate blood because he had heard that they would do a COVID-19 test as part of the process. He was advised that the test for the virus wasn't performed on blood, and sent him on his way.

I also overheard management trying to convince workers to work a bloodmobile in Durham, NC tomorrow offering time and a half, a hotel room, and per diem for meals with no takers. After the manager had left I asked the workers about it and they said that Durham was a "hotspot" for the virus and they wanted none of it.
  #52  
Old 03-27-2020, 04:32 PM
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We had to put a sign on the door of the Bloodmobile warning people away if they had or were around people who have Covid-19. We are also asking people who have been to Italy, China, South Korea, or Iran to wait 28 days before donating blood.
  #53  
Old 03-27-2020, 04:46 PM
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In NYC they're asking survivors of covid-19 to donate so that they can use the antibodies to cure those who are sick.
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  #54  
Old 03-27-2020, 05:22 PM
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In my small city (pop ~5000) the typical blood drive for me is: Walk in at 4:10. I'm bleeding by 4:25
My experience yesterday (Mar 26):
I make ( a strongly encouraged) appointment for 4:00. I show up at 3:55. It is at a bigger venue so chairs can be separated. I get my temp taken right away (98.2 F)
I see there are a lot of stickers on the table, some with appointments before 3. I was told they were an hour behind.
I do my health screening at around 5:30. I get on the bed around 6
They actually had to stop taking people around 5:15 because they ran out of bags.
Apparently they cancelled a drive on Monday so they added 20 appointments but only one worker and no beds. Also a bunch of new folks (so no rapid pass) and at least one slow bleeder ahead of me.

Brian
  #55  
Old 03-28-2020, 05:48 AM
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We've stopped taking walk-ins unless there's an open slot. Once those are filled that's it for the day.
  #56  
Old 03-31-2020, 02:19 PM
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The FDA has approved using convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.

Last edited by ivylass; 03-31-2020 at 02:20 PM.
  #57  
Old 03-31-2020, 03:34 PM
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Every blood drive I've signed up for since the crisis began has been cancelled. I may actually have to drive the 40 minutes to the nearest Red Cross to donate.
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  #58  
Old 03-31-2020, 06:18 PM
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I donated today. I had to make the appointment well in advance, and it was noticeably less crowded in the waiting area; presumably they're spacing people out. There's parking in the rear, and normally you can enter through the back door and go right up the stairs, but for now you have to go to the front to get your temperature taken and a preliminary screening before you go upstairs. They insist you keep the pen you use on the questionnaire even if they take your blood, which I found amusing. I almost didn't get to donate because my first hemoglobin reading was only 12.4, but the guy called in another guy to do it again and I squeaked by with 12.5. A few donation chairs had signs saying "do not use;" I noticed the one next to me had a small rip in the vinyl and wondered if that was why; maybe they can't adequately sterilize those right now. Or maybe it's just because the chairs are less than 6 feet apart? They usually offer warm blankets (as in, they have a blanket warmer that makes them feel fresh out of the dryer, which is heavenly) but didn't this time. The snacks were behind the counter instead of out for everyone to grab, though they were on top of offering them to everyone. Otherwise, it was quick and pleasant as usual.
  #59  
Old 04-02-2020, 06:50 PM
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Update to FDA rules on gay men donating blood.
  #60  
Old 04-13-2020, 03:50 PM
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There's no more finger stick to check your iron. It's a cute little thing that fits over your thumb like a blood pressure cuff and squeezes. You get a thumb massage!
This popped into my head the other day, and I'm curious what this device is called and if it can be purchased for use at home. Although I've now successfully donated 9 pints (I miscounted earlier!), I've been deferred 2 or 3 times for low hemoglobin. I'm always within a healthy range--above 12, but you need to be 12.5g/dL to donate. I've given up on trying to donate every 8 weeks as I can't get my levels back up in such a short time even with supplements; I go every 3 months at most. It would be nice to be able to check my levels painlessly at home, without risk of infection, before I make the long drive to Westwood.
  #61  
Old 04-13-2020, 03:55 PM
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It's called an Orsense. https://www.prnewswire.com/il/news-r...300883949.html
  #62  
Old 04-21-2020, 12:23 PM
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Thanks! Looks like it's not available to consumers, though. Too bad.

On the bright side, it seems like maybe all these folks stepping up to donate have helped avert a crisis:
https://www.ktvq.com/news/coronaviru...lated-shortage
  #63  
Old 04-21-2020, 12:41 PM
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We saw the same thing. That and hospitals cancelling elective surgeries helped stabilize the blood supply.
  #64  
Old 04-21-2020, 01:35 PM
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The community response was phenomenal. That and hospitals cancelling elective surgeries helped stabilize the blood supply.
  #65  
Old 04-22-2020, 08:39 AM
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I received notification a couple of days ago on my Red Cross Blood Donor app that my blood had been used at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. It was around three weeks from donation to use, so pretty typical, and within 250 miles from the donation site, also a typical distance. I've had blood used as close as 20 miles away and as far away as 600 miles, but 250 miles is nothing remarkable.

I think the cancellation of elective surgeries and the reduction in traffic and industrial injuries has lessened the demand. My daughter tried to donate and had trouble finding an appointment.
  #66  
Old 04-22-2020, 09:00 AM
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I received notification a couple of days ago on my Red Cross Blood Donor app that my blood had been used at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. It was around three weeks from donation to use, so pretty typical, and within 250 miles from the donation site, also a typical distance. I've had blood used as close as 20 miles away and as far away as 600 miles, but 250 miles is nothing remarkable.

I think the cancellation of elective surgeries and the reduction in traffic and industrial injuries has lessened the demand. My daughter tried to donate and had trouble finding an appointment.
This is true but another reason itís more difficult to find an appointment is that they canít take as many people at a time as normal because of social distancing.
  #67  
Old 04-22-2020, 09:19 AM
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It seems, though, that they still really want your plasma if you've recovered from the virus: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate...-patients.html
  #68  
Old 04-22-2020, 09:25 AM
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I showed up to an "emergency blood drive" that was inexplicably cancelled without notice. 10 confused donors waiting in line.

I was a little pissed, because as an O-negative donor I am accustomed to being greeted with cookies and a shower of rose petals. But, I also didn't make an appointment.

I guess in these uncertain times, we need to make appointments even if it's advertised as a public emergency blood drive.
  #69  
Old 04-22-2020, 11:42 AM
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I wonder if the drive was planned back when things were looking dire and canceled because things have leveled out?

I read that a lot of blood was donated and ultimately wasted after 9/11, and the Red Cross came in for a lot of criticism as a result. I was 18 and remember some inconsistent messaging, which may not have been their fault but left me confused. There were signs all over campus about the urgent need for blood, but when I called to try to find a blood drive or donation center, the woman who answered the phone read off a script about how they were not taking donations at this time, and hung up when I asked when I should call back.
  #70  
Old 04-24-2020, 01:22 PM
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Red blood cells last 42 days. But you can only donate whole blood every 56 days. So that leaves a two week gap between when your blood cells can be used and when you're eligible to donate again.

So everyone coming out to donate in mid-March is great, but now we're getting to the point soon where the blood they donated is expired, but they're not eligible to donate yet. COVID-19 has really highlighted the need for a steady and robust blood supply. People need to make it a habit. They go to the dentist every six months, see their doctor every year, donate blood every two months, get their car's oil changed every 3000-6000 miles (depending on the oil) etc.
  #71  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:54 PM
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Our local blood bank has begun testing all successful blood donations for the COVID-19 antibody.
  #72  
Old 05-22-2020, 07:02 PM
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Red blood cells last 42 days. But you can only donate whole blood every 56 days. So that leaves a two week gap between when your blood cells can be used and when you're eligible to donate again..
My 56 days ended last week and I got a text. I made an appointment for last Monday and went into the center and the phlebotomist told me the same thing. They were thoroughly wiping everything down and only used every other station. Also they didn't have a snack section for when you were done. They told me he choices and brought what I asked them to bring to me.
  #73  
Old 05-22-2020, 08:49 PM
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I donated double red this week. Large ballroom, lots of spacing. I was a little uncertain about the need to be REALLY CLOSE to two of the workers (the screener and the person actually taking the blood) but they were wearing gloves and we were all wearing masks, so I'm hoping it's okay. never noticed how close you have to get to them, but after about two months of not being close enough to touch pretty much anyone other than my immediate family, calibration changes.

They did have a snack station and told me to help myself, then sit a long way from the other donors. The other thing was that I had my temp taken twice--once to get into the ballroom and once in the screening. They also used an under-the-tongue-for-one-minute test, which I guess must be more accurate than the speedy ones?

Anyway, I survived so far, and was glad to be able to do it.
  #74  
Old 05-23-2020, 08:08 AM
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Circumstances and rules probably vary...

I was in Germany for three years in the late 1990s and was told that I couldn’t donate blood due to Mad Cow risk. I recently asked and was told the rule was relaxed and was allowed to donate, despite two vacations to Europe in the last three years.
  #75  
Old 05-23-2020, 09:47 AM
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Our local blood bank has begun testing all successful blood donations for the COVID-19 antibody.

I was wondering about this. I assume your local blood bank is not a Red Cross blood bank? I donated last weekend (after 2 other post-56-days drives I signed up for were closed) and the Red Cross didn’t mention antibody testing at all. I was hoping they would start doing it.
  #76  
Old 05-24-2020, 08:56 AM
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Correct. The Red Cross does not collect blood in my state.
  #77  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:06 AM
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I showed up to a blood donation site the other day. It's all by-appointment now. They need donors to make appointments for 2 reasons - first, to allow time to sanitize the facility, and second, to justify having the blood drive at all.

They are so serious about this that they were about to turn me away for not having an appointment. Then I told the screener I was O-negative, and she just sort of rolled her eyes and told me she'd fit me in, but I did get a lecture about using the Red Cross app to make an appointment next time.

So, if you're going to donate, make an appointment online first. It helps everyone out.
There's an app for it.
  #78  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:37 AM
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It's interesting that a lot of us seem to have experienced the two speeds of blood collection: "omg thankyouthankyouthankyou you're saving lives you're the most important person in the world here let me peel you a grape" and "what do YOU want? Do I look like I have time for your shit?"

What's up with that?
  #79  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:43 AM
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They arenít taking walk ins at all where I donate (Vitalant, formerly UBS). Itís all appointment now. This is totally understandable since there is so much extra prep work and they canít have as many people in the building at a time now.
  #80  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:47 AM
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We've relaxed the rule for living on a US military base and being referred for mad cow, but you have to go through our Donor Advocacy group to get that resolved.
  #81  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:58 AM
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It's interesting that a lot of us seem to have experienced the two speeds of blood collection: "omg thankyouthankyouthankyou you're saving lives you're the most important person in the world here let me peel you a grape" and "what do YOU want? Do I look like I have time for your shit?"

What's up with that?

Honestly, I think wearing a mask all day plus the extra added steps of disinfecting is making them crabby. The crew always seems on the verge of annoyed every time I go in normal times (but still plenty nice, I have no complaints). The masks can really put you over the edge. At least that’s my experience wearing a mask and simply going to the grocery store. Couldn’t imagine wearing it for a full shift that includes new tasks.
  #82  
Old 05-24-2020, 06:35 PM
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Donated a double at a blood drive at a local church 2 weeks back. Small town, two churches alternate hosting the drive. The larger of the 2 facilities was used this time. Not sure if it was planned or happenstance. Only appointments, signs on the doors asking walkins to go to the blood center 25 minutes away. They had more people willing to get an appointment than they had slots available. They actually were calling people on the waiting list the day before to replace cancellations. Same basic precautions that are now commonplace. Everyone masked, oral temp before entering, gloves, etc. Food section pretty skimpy for what these places typically provide. The small Oreo and Cheeto bags with water. In the past I've had homemade soup, pies, torts, sandwiches and the local cheese plants and butchers donate platters full of their products. Never leave hungry normally.
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  #83  
Old 05-26-2020, 11:21 AM
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Our blood bank is also requiring all donors to wear masks. If they don't have one, we will provide one. If the donor refuses it, they cannot donate blood.

I'm getting quite anxious with people waiting. They schedule their appointment, but because we are only allowed four donors on the bloodmobile and two at a time actually donating, we can fall behind if there is any delay, from a recheck of blood pressure to a reaction. I HATE it when people have to wait and I don't know how to move past that anxiety. Most people have been understanding but apparently there were two donors at a drive yesterday (I was working the other one) who got quite angry.
  #84  
Old 05-26-2020, 11:58 AM
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Is it possible to build in some breaks between appointments to give yourself a cushion? I realize that will reduce the number of donors you can accept, but if the delays are getting to the point that people are becoming upset, there might be a greater risk of losing them forever as donors.

Efficient scheduling is always a challenge. It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. There was a thread on another board I visit about slow service in Caribbean restaurants, in which numerous people, including an American doctor, were absolutely indignant at having to wait 30 minutes for a beer. I thought back to all the times I've had to wait 30 minutes or more past my scheduled appointment time to see my doctor, and wondered if he takes any special measures to ensure that never happens to his patients, or if he thinks only his time is valuable, and his patients should wait for him while restaurants take care to never keep him waiting. There's clearly an element of privilege and power at work here; important people expect not to have to wait, unless the person they're waiting for is even more important.

I mentioned earlier that I've noticed some hot and cold treatment from blood banks; when they want donors, they're fawningly obsequious, but when they're overwhelmed, they can be abrupt and occasionally downright rude to these people who are literally offering up a part of themselves for no meaningful compensation. (I think my local center still gives out movie tickets. How quaint!) Medical professionals are, of course, Very Important People, but perhaps in this particular scenario they might consider treating the "patients" more like valued customers, e.g. by taking steps to avoid keeping them waiting.
  #85  
Old 05-26-2020, 01:02 PM
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I have never been treating with anything but the utmost of respect when I have donated blood and have done so many dozens of times over the last 38 years. We had to wear masks when I donated last week. I am honestly surprised that a blood donor would be upset about having to wear a mask.
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:57 PM
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I may be projecting. I hate to be kept waiting so I assume others do too. I have asked co-workers how they deal and they say it's something you get used to.
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:19 PM
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I thought your co-workers told you that two people got angry yesterday? How could that be you projecting?
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:14 AM
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I mean projecting in that EVERYONE kept waiting will get pissed off. That's not normally the case. But some people can be quite vocal and I understand...we're frustrated too. In the past we could fill all five beds on the bus with donors and pack another five in the waiting seats, but we can't do that now, so the pace has slowed down.

I have no idea how we will handle high school drives in the fall. There is NO way we can get all the donors processed with the social distance requirements we have now.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:14 PM
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How long are people being kept waiting? Are we talking a few people each day having to wait 5 minutes, or the majority of donors each day having to wait at least a few minutes and some up to an hour?
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:30 AM
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One drive had people waiting more than an hour.
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Old 05-30-2020, 11:01 AM
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In that case, I would reiterate my previous suggestion that your organization consider building in some more buffer time between appointments so that this doesn't happen. I don't think you're projecting when you imagine that, even among those who express understanding, there are those who are unhappy about being made to wait so long. It would probably deter me from coming back. I wouldn't storm off in a fit of pique, and when it came to be my turn and you apologized I would say it's OK. But it wouldn't be OK. And when the time rolled around that I could donate again, I might look at all the work I have to do (my workload has not decreased one iota during the pandemic; I'm doing a lot of it on weekends) and the precious few opportunities to go diving (it's very weather-dependent, and I'm loathe to make an appointment to donate on what could turn out to be the only good diving day in weeks) and I might just think...eh, I don't have time right now.I'd fully intend to make an appointment once things settle down... but you know how that goes.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:19 PM
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Did your doctor tell you? Passing out is not unheard of. If you tell the donor staff what happened they can take extra precautions. It is important that you eat a good meal BEFORE you donate. I've had high school students think a piece of toast is a good breakfast.

If you feel comfortable, please try again.
I've been donating since high school (I was a platelet donor, too), because my dad was a multi-gallon donor, and it was just the natural thing to do.

The only time I had a problem with my reaction was the time I donated at work mid-morning, and I had skipped breakfast. So dumb. I was fine until I stood up to walk to the cookie table. Then, I was so thankful that the skinny little 80 yr old lady had an iron grip on my elbow, because I would have collapsed. I've never come close to fainting since. And I learned my lesson!

The only time I had an issue with the donation itself was when I got a bad stick, and they said the needle was against the vein or something?

I enjoy chatting with the Red Cross volunteers, too. One guy I was talking to was on his way to a donation site when the Whittier Narrows quake hit (we were talking about it because our building had had quite bad damage; we were nearly on the epicenter). He was parked on a hill overlooking downtown LA. It was early morning, and the sun was at the right angle to hit all the glass office buildings. He said they all started to shimmer, and it was beautiful. Then, he felt the quake. Not so beautiful then!
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:19 PM
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Did your doctor tell you? Passing out is not unheard of. If you tell the donor staff what happened they can take extra precautions. It is important that you eat a good meal BEFORE you donate. I've had high school students think a piece of toast is a good breakfast.

If you feel comfortable, please try again.
Sorry, I just noticed this kind of old post. The last time I donated it was a double red and I was over 42 hours fasting. I know hydration is important just to keep the volume up, but I've never had trouble donating during a fast, and I've done it a lot. They do get kind of pushy about the snack before you leave, but I find I can sip a bottle of water until they're distracted and then escape,
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Old 05-30-2020, 02:50 PM
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In that case, I would reiterate my previous suggestion that your organization consider building in some more buffer time between appointments so that this doesn't happen. I don't think you're projecting when you imagine that, even among those who express understanding, there are those who are unhappy about being made to wait so long. It would probably deter me from coming back. I wouldn't storm off in a fit of pique, and when it came to be my turn and you apologized I would say it's OK. But it wouldn't be OK. And when the time rolled around that I could donate again, I might look at all the work I have to do (my workload has not decreased one iota during the pandemic; I'm doing a lot of it on weekends) and the precious few opportunities to go diving (it's very weather-dependent, and I'm loathe to make an appointment to donate on what could turn out to be the only good diving day in weeks) and I might just think...eh, I don't have time right now.I'd fully intend to make an appointment once things settle down... but you know how that goes.
I understand. It is a commitment on your part and you're doing it out of the kindness of your heart. We are heading into a new month with new guidelines so we'll see how things go. We're pretty much week by week at this point.
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:10 PM
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I gave platelets today, 3rd time since March. I got multiple notifications this week on my Red Cross donor app saying "urgent need, remember your appointment." I didn't get those last month, but I don't know if the need was greater now or maybe they added the feature to the app recently.
  #96  
Old Yesterday, 12:00 PM
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Platelets only last five days, so the need for those is pretty constant.
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Old Yesterday, 07:32 PM
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No risk. The virus is not bloodborne and you must be healthy to donate. The blooomobiles and branches are cleaned often and the staff is highly trained.
Oh, my lordy god.

First of all, that's a pretty sweeping statement to make. I live in NYC and have a rare type. My typical go is 2 units of RBC.

A lengthy conversation with an Admin at the New York Blood Center confirms that while they are trying to keep people apart, they are so desperate for units of anyoldthing that they are taking all comers.

Doing an RBC donation involves being strapped down for 60-90 minutes. In an environment with unknown carriers. Unknown air flow volume per minute. And uncontrollable proximity to infected persons.

Yeah. It's not bloodborne. We all know that. We also KNOW that it's carried and dispersed through aerosolated exhalations by people who have no clue at all that they are carrying and dispersing it.

So do I feel bad that there's a dangerous shortage? Yeah. Do I want to be the noble martyr, going off to a completely uncontrolled environment where I am forced to breathe the same air as unknown carriers? Nope.

See, I was born not breathing properly. Have had asthma since that moment. Unlike, say, 95% of the population I already KNOW what it is to suffocate slowly. Any chance to avoid COVID-19 is one I take.

I'll pass.
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