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COVID-19 pandemic creates blood shortage, IU students can donate off campus



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The American Red Cross is working with IU’s School of Medicine to organize blood drives, but the university’s precautions have limited their ability to have events, said junior Rachel Ramos, an intern in promotions and marketing for the American Red Cross. IDS file photo and Ben Mikesell

The American Red Cross is experiencing challenges maintaining a stable blood supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, with businesses and community organizations restricting the number of people at their locations, leading many blood drives to be canceled, the American Red Cross said in a press release in June. 

The American Red Cross is working with IU’s School of Medicine to organize blood drives, but the university’s precautions have limited their ability to hold events, said junior Rachel Ramos, an intern in promotions and marketing for the American Red Cross. 

“We’re talking with the School of Medicine to see if we can do it in the safest way possible, but we’re not sure if we’ll even be able to host one,” Ramos said.

The American Red Cross is unsure if they will be able to have any on campus blood drives this semester, Ramos said. 

IU students contribute greatly to American Red Cross blood drives, generally providing 200-300 units of blood every semester, which is about 30 percent of total donations, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said.

Students can still give blood at off-campus locations including the Bloomington Blood Donation Center and the First Presbyterian Church, according to the American Red Cross website. 

The American Red Cross has taken steps to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and has incorporated safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the press release.

Even as some outside events resume at IU, the drives will have to be indoors, as outdoor blood drives are against American Red Cross policies, Ramos said.

People wanting to donate are asked to schedule an appointment in advance and are required to wear face masks, and donors’ and workers’ temperatures will be taken and equipment disinfected, according to the press release.

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