Concerns over blood supply lead MEDIC to encourage donor help

While accepting blood donors by appointment only due to concerns over COVID-19, MEDIC Regional Blood Center has seen blood donations drop.

“As of March 19, we have seen more than 12,000 blood drives cancelled across the blood industry, resulting in some 355,000 projected products (lost),” said Kristy Altman, MEDIC director of communications and donor engagement.

“We are encouraging all donors to make an appointment by calling 865-524-3074 or online at The Farragut office, 11000 Kingston Pike, Suite 4, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays.

Although “Our current supply is actually adequate for what we need,” Altman added, “We will see an increase in demand once the hospitals lift their pause on elective surgeries.”

On site, “We will not allow more than two donors on a bus in the collection phase at one time.”

Moreover, “We have removed chairs from waiting areas and worked to space the common areas so that donors can follow the 6-foot (spacing),” Altman said.

“Upon arrival, donors, visitors and staff undergo a temperature check. If their temperature is under 99.5 degrees” they continue, she added. “The minimum age is 16 years old and can only donate with a signed parental consent and weigh at least 125 pounds, including clothing/shoes, and be in good health.

Otherwise, “Donors must be (at least) 17-years old and must weigh at least 115 pounds,” she said. “Donors should be hydrated before they arrive and should eat at least a hearty snack if they cannot eat a full meal.”

Concerning beverages, however, “They should not drink anything in the five minutes prior to arriving, as that could skew the oral temperature,” Altman said.