Marsh Regional Blood Center resumes public blood drives, maintains COVID-19 precautions

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – To replenish blood supplies that have been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Marsh Regional Blood Center announced on Wednesday that it has resumed its community-wide blood drives.

Even as the Appalachian Highlands cautiously continues its reopening efforts, physical distancing guidelines and the closure of schools and other local organizations have significantly impacted the region’s blood supplies.

“At the beginning of this pandemic, when we were first concerned about a blood shortage, new and returning donors came out in force to give,” said Don Campbell, director of Marsh Regional. “Their selfless actions during that time undoubtedly helped prevent an unprecedented blood shortage – and now, it’s time to do it again.

“As hospitals and health systems have resumed normal operations, we have a growing need for blood, even as blood drives are cancelled.”

Marsh Regional continues to take appropriate measures to reduce donors’ potential exposure to COVID-19, as well as extra disinfection and sanitization efforts. Donors will receive individualized directions to maintain proper physical distancing measures, including a new requirement for donors to make an appointment before giving at any of its collection centers and many of its mobile drives.

COVID-19 does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. Blood donation centers always take steps to prevent team members and donors who are not feeling well or who have a fever from reaching the donor area, and they are now taking additional physical distancing precautions wherever possible.

“If you’re healthy, feel well and haven’t been exposed to COVID-19, we need you to donate now,” Campbell said.

Community blood drives near the Review’s readership will be held:

Tuesday, May 26

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Carter-Trent Funeral Home, Kingsport

Wednesday, May 27

8 a.m.-noon

Henard Metal Fabricators Inc., Kingsport

Friday, May 29

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Walmart, Rogersville

“We’re always grateful for our loyal blood donors, and welcome new donors to our centers and blood drives,” Campbell said.

As many as three lives can be saved each time someone donates blood – and donations to Marsh Regional stay local to help people in the Appalachian Highlands.

Marsh Regional supplies blood to 28 regional medical facilities, all regional cancer centers and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or who are taking antibiotics may not donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving blood.

In addition to the scheduled blood drives, donors are welcome at Marsh Regional’s collection centers: 111 W. Stone Drive, Suite 300, Kingsport; 2428 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City; and 1996 W. State St., Bristol.

For more information about scheduling a blood drive at a local business, church, school or community organization, please call 423-408-7500, 423-652-0014 or 423-282-7090 or visit www.marshblood.com.

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