Versiti Blood Centers puts out call for blood donations
As coronavirus continues an unprecedented spread throughout the U.S., public concern is growing. Businesses have employees working from home. High schools and universities have closed. Large public gatherings, from conventions to sports events at all levels, have been canceled.
The implications of these actions have put the nation's blood supply at high risk.
Versiti Blood Center of Illinois serves 71 hospitals in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and partners with schools, churches, and local organizations to stage hundreds of community blood drives annually. Versiti has experienced a sharp decline in individual blood donations in the week. More than 58 community blood drives have been canceled across Illinois resulting in more than 1,300 blood donations not collected due to coronavirus concerns.
Available blood and blood products are at a concerning level for the 71 Illinois and Indiana hospitals that Versiti serves.
"Right now is the time for all healthy donors to donate blood," said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Abshire. "People need people. We've relied on the generosity and compassion of our donors during previous challenging times and we are confident that they will once again answer the call by donating life-saving blood during this unique and unsettled time in human history."
The donation process itself poses no risk of infecting a donor with coronavirus. "Donors and our blood drive sponsors should be reassured that attending organized blood drives is safe," Dr. Abshire said. "Coronavirus is currently not known to infect patients through blood transfusions."
Versiti has implemented increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures in all donor centers and mobile donation units to provide an even safer donation experience.
"We are currently exploring ways we can implement new blood drives at secondary locations to replace the drives that have been canceled by high schools, universities, businesses and other organizations," Dr. Abshire said. "We need the support of our community to host new blood drives to replace the canceled drives."
Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.
Those interested in donating blood are encouraged to call 1-800-7TO-GIVE or visit versiti.org/illinois.
Donor center locations include: Aurora, 1200 N. Highland Ave.; Bloomingdale, 204 Gary Ave.; Crystal Lake, 6296 Northwest Hwy.; DeKalb, 2428 Sycamore Road; Elgin, 1140 N. McLean Blvd.; Geneva, 2000 W. State St., Unit 1E; Joliet, 2625 W. Jefferson St.; Naperville, 1297 S. Naper Blvd.; Tinley Park, 16100 Centennial Circle; Westmont, 6317 S. Fairview; and Winfield, 27W281 Geneva Road; and Yorkville,728 E. Veterans Pwy., Suite 112.
Versiti Blood Center of Illinois is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Aurora, Ill., that specializes in blood products and services and provides expert medical and technical support. Founded in 1943, it is the oldest blood center in Illinois and serves patients at 71 hospitals in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. It operates 12 donor centers and conducts nearly 2,200 blood drives annually at area hospitals, churches, businesses, schools and community centers. To learn more, visit versiti.org.