Blood centers encouraging donations after drop over recent weeks

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- Despite concerns over the coronavirus, the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is encouraging people to donate blood. The Center is hoping to prevent a blood shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic after seeing a slight drop in donations over the past two weeks.

A donor donates blood at one of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center Cedar Rapids locations on Thursday, March 26, 2020. (MARLON HALL//KCRG)

“What we want to make sure we are continuing to do is over the next few weeks is continue to support to those service hospitals,” Lisa Sparrow, Manager of Donor Relations at the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center said.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is encouraging people to come in to avoid a shortage later on. The Center wants donors to make appointments and avoid walk-ins to limit the number of people in the centers. Donation beds are also placed 6 feet apart.

Center staff is asking that people do not donate if they have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus or experienced a fever, cough or shortness of breath in the last 14 days.

Center staff say this is usually a busy time of the year for donations.

“This is a really busy time normally for high schools to host their blood drives and obviously with schools not being in session right now, schools aren’t able to host their blood drives. We’ve also had several businesses that were planning to host their blood drives, but since moving to remote workforce, they are unable to do so either, “Sparrow said.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center has multiple donation locations in eastern Iowa including in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.