American Red Cross Searching for Emergency Blood Drive Sites
WHEELING — As approximately 9,000 blood drives have been canceled across the country due to the coronavirus crisis, the American Red Cross continues to search for sites to keep the vital blood supply available for community hospitals.
Locally, Phyllis Riccadonna, spokeswoman for regional American Red Cross Blood Services, said with the cancellation of 37 blood drives in 10 area counties through early May, Red Cross officials are asking the public to come forward with a site to host an emergency blood drive because the need for blood is constant.
The Red Cross currently has scheduled 10 blood drives over the next month in the region, but is still looking for more sites.
“That’s our vehicle to deliver,” Riccadonna explained. She said many of the cancellations are due to the closure of schools, churches, and other sites which are no longer available to host an event in the wake of the ongoing crisis.
“We are asking the public to come forward with a site to host an emergency blood drive. … In order to supply our hospitals the way we do. I’m going to need replacements,” Riccadonna explained. “We are hoping to keep up with our blood supply and supply these hospitals.”
She said they are hoping for more donors to turn out for drives since there are fewer events are being scheduled. She said anyone interested in hosting a drive or to schedule an appointment as a donor in a local community to contact her at 304-989-9929.
According to Riccadonna, Red Cross officials reassure the public they are taking additional precautions to insure the safety of the donors and their staff during blood drive events.
“Our collection staff arriving to blood drives are wearing masks, distancing donors, taking temperatures, sanitizing all equipment and beds between donors, and using gloves,” Riccadonna explained.
According to Riccadonna, while the Red Cross currently has scheduled 10 sites in the region for blood drives, there is the essential need to schedule more events. She said events scheduled for Oglebay Park’s Pine Room on April 7, and the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville on April 9 are already filled to capacity and they are unable to accept any more reservations or walk-ins for either event. Riccadonna said the Red Cross thanked Oglebay Park and the Ohio Valley Mall for hosting two blood drives that are already filled to capacity, along with all the blood donors coming out to each event.
“The American Red Cross would like to thank the generosity of these hosts, and the generosity of the blood donors at this challenging time in our lives,” Riccadonna added.
Upcoming Blood Drives
The following is a list of dates and sites the Red Cross has scheduled local blood drives so far in the month of April for which they are still accepting reservations or walk-ins.
April 6 – Crossroads Church, Wintersville, from noon to 5:30 p.m.
April 8 – United Methodist Church, Center of Hope, Wintersville, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
April 13 – Vance Memorial Church, Wheeling, from noon to 5:30 p.m.
April 20 – Trinity Lutheran Church, Wheeling, 10 a.m to 3 p.m.
April 21 – Jenkins Sub Express, Diane River Plaza, Middlebourne, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
April 23 – St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church, New Martinsville, from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
April 24 – Messiah Lutheran Church, Moundsville, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
April 27 – Vance Memorial Church, Wheeling, noon to 5:30 p.m.