Supplies of blood donations at Carter BloodCare are good, but the company is eyeing its future supply, an administrator said this week.
“The future concern is that, as more people get sick from the new coronavirus, demand could spike,” said Director of Public Relations Linda Goelzer. “I would describe it as we are trying to maintain what is looking like a pretty good inventory right now. Our supply concern right now is future.”
The positive news about Carter BloodCare’s supply comes about a month after the director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported a significant drop in national blood donations as fears about the coronavirus began to emerge.
Carter BloodCare, which has a Longview location, has asked patrons to make appointments to its donation centers to help keep large groups of people from showing up at all once but instead one at a time.
It also is asking donors to complete a questionnaire online before their appointments at carterbloodcare.org .
“The interesting comparison is if you donate blood, it has a 42-day shelf life. … A donor who gives red cells today is not eligible (to donate) again for 56 days,” Goelzer said. “That is sort of the strategy right now is scheduling appointments. We ask them to make appointments so that we balance the future supply as well as the current supply.”
Donation center staffs are performing “extra, extra cleaning” including frequent wiping down of beds as well as the light switches inside restrooms each time they are used, she said.
“We’re really cleaning everything between every donor,” Goelzer said.
Anyone who arrives at a donation center or blood drive and notices several other people or cars at the respective facility is asked to call before entering.
Carter BloodCare is allowing donors to wear masks at its donation centers to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendation. Carter followed previous CDC guidelines when it didn’t allow masks to be worn, Goelzer said, and the reason for that guideline was because a donor wearing a mask gave the appearance that he or she was not feeling well.
Allowing masks might encourage people who had stopped coming to donation centers to return, she said.