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Although the American public has stepped up to the plate and helped to maintain a blood supply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is still a critical need for blood, Red Cross spokesman Anthony Tornetta said Friday.
Appearing on "Fox & Friends First" with host Jillian Mele, Tornetta said that over the last couple of weeks during the health crisis, about 9,000 blood drives were canceled.
"Roughly about 250,000 blood donations were not made because of those cancellations," he explained. "And so, we're asking the American public to schedule donations and help us move forward in the weeks and months ahead."
Tornetta said the safety of the Red Cross's donors and staff has "always been [their] top priority," but they've implemented a few extra cautionary steps since the outbreak.
"We've always encouraged scheduling appointments and we're going to continue to do that especially with the social distancing practice that we've implemented," he told Mele. "So, we want to make sure that you can schedule a donation and we can schedule you in a way that keeps everybody as safe as possible."
"We are checking temperatures of our donors and our staff and volunteers that arrive at blood drives before they arrive and after they leave. We're also hand sanitizing everybody before, during, and after. We're making sure they have plenty of hand sanitizer. We're wiping down hard surfaces where anyone may have touched as they come in," Tornetta stated further. "And, really just focusing on making sure that everybody feels comfortable."
However, there are guidelines for who is eligible to donate. You are not eligible to donate if you have a fever, have traveled to any area with a COVID-19 outbreak, live with individuals who have been diagnosed, or are diagnosed positive yourself.
"If you're healthy and you're eligible, consider getting out and making a blood donation appointment," Tornetta urged.
If you're not eligible, there's another way to help.
The Red Cross will be hosting a virtual "Zero to Hero" training program for volunteers this weekend.