In a letter to Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan, Nadine McCrindle Executive Director of the Central & Eastern Oregon Chapter of The American Red Cross said that the Red Cross "is working to continue delivering our mission, including the collection of lifesaving blood, but we have had a staggering number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives cancelled as more workplaces, school and college campuses and other venues send people home and encourage social distancing."



McCrindle noted that "disruptions to blood donations can lead to shortages and cause delays in essential medical care."



As of March 14, about 1,500 blood drives have been canceled in the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns.That equates to approximately 46,000 fewer blood donations, the Red Cross reports.



The Red Cross is encouraging companies and organizations to continue to hold existing blood drives or schedule new ones and asking the community to donate lifesaving blood.



"To help overcome some of the concerns about collecting blood, the Red Cross has also taken additional steps to ensure the safety of staff and donors at each Red Cross blood drive," McCrindle said."The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org.

"We are now pre-screening all individuals by checking their temperature before they enter any Red Cross blood drive or donation center, including our own staff and volunteers.

"At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. Additional spacing has been implemented within each blood drive set up to incorporate social distancing measures between donation beds and stations within the blood drive."



Information is outlined in What to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Blood Donation Safety at RedCrossBlood.org.



Those who are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give blood or platelets, are urged to make an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).