Donating blood is critical during the pandemic

Donating blood is critical during the pandemic

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Our state is facing a blood shortage at a critical time during the pandemic and you can help save lives by donating.

Vitalant donor recruitment representative Sarah Dyess explains the ongoing blood shortage.

“Blood is important right now because we’re seeing an increase in usage but a decrease in blood drives," said Dyess. "Schools and universities account for almost 35% of what we collect annually, so with the COVID restrictions and stuff, it’s really important that everybody kind of steps up and does their part.”

Donated blood is critical for many medical reasons and has new importance for COVID-19. Right now, Vitalant is testing all donations for coronavirus antibodies.

“It doesn’t test for the live virus but what it does is it tests the blood to see if their plasma contains blood for the antibodies,” Dyess explains.

And if you have the antibodies, you can help play an important role in coronavirus treatment and research.

“If they are positive for the antibodies, we can then contact those donors to see if they would be willing to come in and donate plasma," Dyess says, "That plasma is used to treat the sickest of the patients that are currently in the hospital… We’ve been doing this now for a couple of months and we’ve seen huge results with some of the sickest patients so it’s an awesome way to try and give back.”

She says that it only takes about 20 minutes to give blood after a health screening, and drinks and snacks are available for donors.

“It involves a health screening with our phlebotomist that just kind of is general health questions, just to make sure you’re feeling healthy and well, and then you can do a blood donation with the phlebotomist on the floor,” Dyess says.

You can make an appointment to donate at Vitalant.org or walk-in to the blood drive at Jones College on Sept. 22 between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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