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Blood donors needed amid pandemic as supply drastically declines

1 week 22 hours 18 minutes ago Friday, January 08 2021 Jan 8, 2021 January 08, 2021 8:29 PM January 08, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Despite a consistent and growing need for blood, fewer people are donating amid the ongoing pandemic out of fear of contracting COVID-19.

"The reason we're out here today with two buses is because our units have dropped. They've declined a lot since COVID because so many people have scares," Life Share blood donor technician TK Carter said.

Those fears of contracting the virus are keeping donors away, however, some donors believe that the need for their blood is worth the risk.

Nick Fetty is a regular at blood banks and says he will continue to donate. He is confident in his decision and feels safe, saying the process is sterile and clean, always.

"I have a disabled mother and a nephew that had half a heart when he was born, so, those kind of people need this," Fetty said.

Because of the rise in COVID-19 cases, blood banks are struggling to keep their stock supplied.

"We have not been able to go to a lot of different places because no one wants to host a blood drive because of COVID," Carter said.

And hospitals are dealing with the same issue. Baton Rouge General has a 50% decrease in blood donations. If that number continues to decline, important surgeries and procedures will need to be rescheduled. Health care workers say many cannot afford for this to happen.

"During these times, especially, people need it in ICUs and ICUs are getting at capacity daily, so, there's just more need for blood," Nurse Stephanie Murga said.

Plasma donations are also in high demand.

"What that does is help someone who is already in the hospital battling COVID right now. Those antibodies are going to go straight to them, and it could help with testing, and with the shortage of the vaccine," Carter said.

Baton Rouge General is holding a blood drive at its Mid City location for those who wish to donate on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 3 p.m.

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