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American Red Cross In Need Of Blood Donors During Coronavirus Pandemic

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The coronavirus pandemic is causing a major blood shortage nationwide.

The American Red Cross said since the spread of the coronavirus, they've had to cancel over 2,000 blood drives, putting those who need it at a major risk.

For the first time in a few months, Ryan Gutzat attended a blood drive to help.

"I saw an article that there was a potential shortage with the coronavirus going on, so I thought well I'm healthy. I might as well go see if I can donate," Gutzat said.

The American Red Cross said donations are vital during the midst of the public health crisis.

"This is real this is a serious situation, and I've never seen it so bad, and I'm afraid it might get worse if we don't get folks through the door," Regina Boothe Bratton, of the American Red Cross, said.

Because of the coronavirus, the American Red Cross said nearly 2,700 blood drives have been canceled nationwide with 86,000 fewer donations.


The numbers are expected to get worse, according to the American Red Cross.

"That's potentially 300,000 patients care that is in jeopardy," Boothe Bratton said.

To help keep donors safe, anyone who walks through the door has to get their temperature taken,
wash their hands and wear a pair of gloves.

Chairs are also spaced out and equipment is disinfected.

Doctors said at this point, there's no evidence the coronavirus can be spread through blood.

"Coronavirus is not spread through blood transmission," Justin Kreuter, Mayo Clinic Pathologist, said. "With that said, we're still only wanting people who are feeling healthy and not in quarantine to come in and donate."

Even in the middle of a pandemic, other emergencies happen regularly; like car crashes or cancer patients who need blood at a moment's notice.

Gutzat said he hopes more donors come forward to help out.

"We're only going to get through the crisis by working together, and one way could be by donating blood," Gutzat said.

The American Red Cross said they want people to make appointments online so there are no crowds.
they also said they are accepting all blood types, but especially Type O.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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