As Elective Surgeries Resume, Arizona In Need Of Blood Donations

By Harry Croton, Scott Bourque
Published: Monday, May 25, 2020 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, May 25, 2020 - 11:29am
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Since elective surgeries were cleared to resume this month in Arizona, the need for donated blood has increased significantly. However, the lack of blood drives and donations over the past few months has led to a shortage.

Some of the most consistent blood donors in the Phoenix area are high school and college students.

Schools closing in mid-March accounted for a big chunk of the more than 500 blood drives that were canceled over the last two months.

Donation groups in Arizona like Vitalant are in need of more supplies, especially Type-O blood cells, which spokeswoman Sue Thew says can help in many different scenarios.

“It's surprising to know that it's not really how common or rare your blood is that determines whether or not it's greatly needed, but it's how versatile your blood is," Thew said. "Type-O is the universal blood donor. So that means that it can be substituted for other blood types in times of emergencies.”

Blood needs to be on the shelves right now to help cancer patients, victims of trauma and people dealing with childbirth complications.

All of the standard eligibility requirements for donation apply —  but those who have had active COVID-19 infections must wait at least 14 days from the end of their symptoms before they can donate.

"Coronavirus is not passed on by blood transfusion," Thew said. "Peoples temperatures are taken before they enter the donation location, everyone is wearing masks, including donors and staff, we maintain social distancing, and we're pre-screening high risk groups for coronavirus."

A two-day donation drive will be held at Gila River Arena on May 27-28. Appointments can be made at vitalant.org/coyotes.

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