Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness

NEW YORK – New York Blood Center (NYBC) is calling on healthy blood and platelet donors and community partners to help strengthen the region’s blood supply by maintaining their calendar of upcoming blood drives.

Seventy-five percent of blood donations in our region come from blood drives that are hosted by schools, organizations and businesses. As these groups take precautions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, NYBC is seeing a growing number of cancelled blood drives for the month of March. These cancellations pose a significant threat to the blood supply.

Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because blood is perishable, and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf today is the blood that will save lives in an emergency.

“Every donation at every blood drive is critical,” said Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO of New York Blood Center. “As healthy, eligible donors, we have a responsibility to our neighbors to keep the blood supply safe and robust. A resilient healthcare system is more important than ever and we’re counting on everyone to help maintain that.”

In anticipation of rolling cancellations of drives, NYBC is seeking to double the blood reserves now so that it can prevent shortages.

It’s important to know that donating blood is safe. NYBC staff are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. They are also regularly cleaning public surfaces. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Donors are encouraged to refrain from donating or attending a blood drive if they have traveled to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks, as defined by the CDC, or come into contact with anyone who has a confirmed cased of COVID-19.

NYBC provides life-saving blood and blood services to nearly every hospital across the five boroughs and is responsible for ensuring that our city has a safe and reliable blood supply. It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion and nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone.