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Blood donors needed; decrease anticipated

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Blood donors needed; decrease anticipated

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of blood drives have been canceled, Arkansas Blood Institute Director of Donor Recruitment Vince Maniace said Friday, and although ABI’s blood inventory levels are constant, it’s anticipating a “sharp decrease” over the next month.

“Walmart on Central has been an awesome partner to allow us to park a bloodmobile there to collect what we can,” Maniace said. “We have also worked closely with National Park Medical Center and CHI St. Vincent to schedule blood drives and work according to CDC guidelines.”

He said social distancing is followed in the bloodmobile by not allowing more than four donors inside at once.

“The first thing we do when you come to a blood drive is you open the door, get on the bus and we take your temperature,” Maniace said. “If you have a (fever) we’re going to tell you ‘Thank you for coming’ and send you on your way. No more than four donors at any time and it allows us to maintain that 6-foot distance.”

Workers are also required to wear masks in the bloodmobile, and donors are allowed to wear masks if they want, he said.

“We’re (also) cleaning all our equipment after each donor; particularly the blood pressure cuffs and the beds after every donor we wipe those down with an alcohol-base product so it’s sanitary for the next donor,” Maniace said. “The majority of everything else on that bloodmobile is single-use purposes.”

ABI will host four blood drives in its bloodmobile, in addition to the center located at 149 Section Line Road, that is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

The upcoming drives include:

• Wednesday — Walmart on Central, 1-6 p.m.; CHI St. Vincent, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Thursday — CHI St. Vincent, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Monday, April 20 — National Park Medical Center, 1-6 p.m.

“Part of our response to (blood drive cancellations) has been to set up microsite drives and community drives, so the Walmart, like the one there on Central, has been allowing us to come out frequently, but it’s decreased the drive size in that we typically would see, and therefore we’re bringing in a lot less blood,” Maniace said.

He commended Walmart in being “very supportive” by allowing its employees to donate on the clock and by making sure ABI has everything it needs to be successful in collecting blood.

Maniace said ABI is currently at the Walmart on Central every two weeks.

Although appointments are preferred, he said with appointment slots currently not being filled they are accepting walk-ins.

“If there are several people in line we’ll ask them for their phone number and we’ll call or text them when they’re next on the bus,” Maniace said.

For more information or to schedule a blood donation appointment, visit http://www.arkbi.org.

Local on 04/11/2020

Print Headline: Blood donors needed; decrease anticipated

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