Blood supplies are critically low throughout the area. The demand for life-saving transfusions has not relented despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Holy Name Medical Center is kicking off 2021 with a January 13 blood drive from 1 to 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Teaneck to help replenish reserves that have dipped to emergency levels.
The Need for Blood is Dire
January is #National Blood Donor Month, designed to bring awareness to the critical need for blood supplies.
Last year, due to the coronarvirus pandemic, thousands of collections across the country were canceled. At Holy Name, we were forced to suspend four blood drives after our blood collection area was renovated as an ICU for patients with COVID-19.
Our Holy Name blood drives generally collect about 700 pints of blood per year. In 2020, we collected just 121 pints! Similar slowdowns happened across the country as blood drives at healthcare settings, college campuses, offices, and elsewhere were cancelled or curtailed.
Although winter is generally a slow time for collection, the New Jersey/New York area is in the midst of a blood emergency, with just about a two-day supply in reserve (14 days is preferred).
About 36,000 units of red blood cells and 7,000 units of platelets are needed every single day in the U.S. In New Jersey, collection rates are at about 70 percent of normal rates, according to NY/NJ Blood Services.
Please Give Blood on January 13
On Wednesday, January 13, from 1 to 7 p.m., our next blood drive will take place at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 118 Chadwick Road, Teaneck, just around the block from the medical center’s back entrance.
Make your appointment at the New York Blood Center using Sponsor Code 14056; or text: (917) 699-9073. Bring your NYBC donor card if you have one or a photo ID. Please wear a mask, and eat and drink something within three hours prior to donating.
Donating blood is simple and safe. The process takes about one hour, including registration and mini-medical history, donation, and a rest period. If you’re taking prescription medications, call 800-933-Blood to confirm you will be able to donate.
The blood collection center at St. Mark’s will follow safety protocols: Technicians will wear masks and gloves, stations will be at least 6 feet apart, and donors’ temperatures will be taken. Donors must be symptom-free for 14 days if they have recovered from COVID-19.
There is no substitute for blood, and one donation can help several people. All types of blood are needed for surgical, trauma, and cancer patients, as well as those with blood disorders. The most requested blood type by hospitals is type O negative, the universal donor.
2020 was a difficult year; here’s hoping 2021 will be better. Let’s start by replenishing our life-saving supplies of blood.
NY/NJ Blood Services and other banks are also collecting convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors. The plasma may contain antibodies that attack the virus, which can be used to treat patients with serious or life-threatening COVID-19 infections.