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Blood shortages continue in wake of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect the local blood supply, according to LifeSouth, as canceled blood drives throughout the coming months are causing a significant drop in donations.

 Many businesses, schools and churches remain closed during this time, and all typically host drives with LifeSouth. The decrease in blood drives has resulted in a low community blood supply, while the need for blood has increased as hospitals resume elective surgeries and continue treatments for cancer, other diseases and daily traumas.

According to officials, LifeSouth is in need of donors of all blood types and is in critical need of Type O and B donors. 

“We are so grateful to our donors who came in to donate as our community was first impacted by COVID-19, and we ask blood donors and those who have not given before to continue to help,” said Brite Whitaker, director of outreach with LifeSouth. “We want to make sure the blood is on the shelves when our local patients need it most.”

LifeSouth encourages all eligible donors to book an appointment to donate as soon as possible to ensure a safe and stable blood supply is available for patients. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is the nonprofit community blood bank that serves many regional local hospitals, such as Huntsville Hospital, Decatur-Morgan Hospital, North Alabama Medical Center and Marshall Medical Center North and South.

LifeSouth has remained fully operational throughout the coronavirus pandemic as an essential service provider and assures local donors it is safe to donate blood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.

Additionally, LifeSouth reports taking every precaution to maintain a safe environment for donors and staff in its centers and bloodmobiles.

Blood donors are needed every day, and anyone who is in good health is encouraged to donate.

 LifeSouth has six donor centers across north Alabama, with the closest one to Franklin County being in Florence. Centers are also based in Huntsville, Madison, Albertville, Decatur and Cullman.

LifeSouth’s bloodmobiles will continue to be out at many locations in the coming weeks. All donor centers and bloodmobiles are enforcing social distancing between donors, implementing heightened sanitation protocols and encouraging donors to wait in their cars until their appointment time.

The bloodmobile is scheduled for visits to Franklin County on the following dates:

  • May 25, Foodland, 14001 Highway 43, Russellville.
  • June 9, Bank Independent, 13566 Highway 43, Russellville.

Donors must be at least 17, or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also required.

For additional information or to schedule a donation appointment, call LifeSouth toll-free at 888-795-2707 or visit www.lifesouth.org.