Springfield's American Red Cross blood donation center open during "urgent" shortage

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The Red Cross Donation Center in Springfield is usually closed each Wednesday and Thursday. However, this week they made an exception. The donation center will be open Thursday, March 26 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to help with the national blood supply shortage, made worse by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The American Red Cross is in need of blood and platelet donations of all types, especially type O.(Source: Vince Little / US Army)

Stacy Burks, the Executive Director for the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri, said as of this week, 7,790 blood drives have been cancelled across the nation. Burks said this means 236,717 fewer donations. In Missouri and Arkansas, there have been 328 drives cancelled resulting in 11,778 fewer donations.

Many people may be asking what they can do to help while being instructed to stay at home. Blood donations and drives are considered an essential service, therefore people are allowed to leave their house to donate.

Burks also assured donors they are taking the proper safety precautions. "We're using social distancing, we're checking people's temperatures before they even get into the blood drive, we're asking them to sanitize their hands before their come in," said Burks. Burks said a big part of them being able to adhere to social distancing guidelines will be people making donation appointments online or on the Red Cross donor app.

The American Red Cross supplies 40% of the nation's blood. Burks said recently they have had to send blood across the country, to areas hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak.

She asked people to remember while it may seem like life is stopping for a while, life-saving blood transfusions are not. "There are still people who have to get in a car and go to work, so there unfortunately will likely be car accidents, and there will be people in emergency rooms that need blood transfusions, there will be cancer patients who still have to continue with their cancer regimen," she said.

The American Red Cross donation center is located at 313 E. Battlefield Rd. Suite B in Springfield. They will be open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. If there are businesses or organizations looking to host a blood drive, they can call the Southern Missouri Chapter at 417-832-9500.