The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

Here in the Eastern New York Region, 23 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 674 fewer blood donations. The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give.

According to the press release from The American Red Cross:

The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including:

· Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.

· Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.

· Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.

· Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

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