MILWAUKEE – Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin has declared an emergency need for blood donations.

“The blood supply has reached crisis proportions,” said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Tom Abshire, M.D., in a news release. “The unprecedented shift in the environment has created the ‘perfect storm’ resulting in a national blood shortage, which is also impacting our local communities.

“The blood shortage means we are currently unable to provide our hospital partners with the usual supply of blood products. Patient lives could be at risk, particularly if trauma situations occur, if we are not able to maintain an adequate blood supply.”

Since the start of COVID-19 in March and April, nearly 600 blood drives have been canceled statewide with many schools, businesses and churches unable to hold drives, Versiti said. This has resulted in a loss of 15,000 blood donations.

Donor safety measures in place

To ensure donor safety, Versiti has implemented increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures, based upon FDA and CDC guidance, in all donor centers and at community blood drives. In addition, Versiti requires all employees to wear cloth face coverings, as well as donors. Donors are asked to bring their own face covering if they have one.

Social distancing is also being practiced at all donation centers and community blood drives, and the temperature and clinical symptoms of all potential blood donors is being taken, as well as that of staff members.

All blood types are needed and, as always, there is a particular need for O negative blood – the universal blood type used in trauma situations.

Appointments can be scheduled at 877-BE-A-HERO or versiti.org/Wisconsin.

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