Blood donation shortage reported during coronavirus outbreak

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SEATTLE -- The COVID-19 outbreak is starting to impact blood donations around the Northwest.

Bloodworks Northwest reports that they've suffered more than 100 canceled blood drives so far in March, which has made them more than 3,000 donors short so far.

Bloodworks Northwest is asking everyone who can donate to do so.

Doctors aren't using blood transfusions to treat coronavirus, but with so many people working from home and organizations canceling planned blood drives, the supply is in jeopardy.

School and college closures are having a big impact. Students typically make up about a quarter of the mobile drive blood supply and the absence of that is creating a shortfall.

It'll take an infusion of new blood donors to fill the gap of social distancing.

"We have grave concerns," said Bloodworks Northwest CEO Curt Bailey. "We don't know how many donors will show up tomorrow. We've seen in the last two weeks the uncertainty around how many donors show up tomorrow is pretty high."

Some are already answering the call to give blood.

"I saw a flight attendant post that they needed blood in the state of Washington so I came to donate," said Danira Cortez, a Delta flight attendant home for the next two days. "I feel like if you can do it, you should absolutely do it. It's not costing you or me anything to be here so why not help out other people?"

"Individuals who are healthy should make a commitment to come donate," Bailey added. "The community needs them."

He said donors will preferably schedule an appointment several weeks out from now when supply is critical. He hopes donors will then schedule additional appointments when they can give blood again.

You can go online and schedule a donation time whenever it's convenient. Click here for more information.

Bloodworks Northwest has 12 locations across Washington and Oregon and also mobile locations. The company said to align with social distancing measures, they've spaced out chairs in the waiting room and donation center and also wipe down chairs.

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