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Blood donations needed during pandemic

By: Atlanta Northcutt -- Reporter for the Southern Standard




Blood donations are continuing to be needed during the pandemic as the virus is unable to be transmitted through blood.


Although coronavirus is spreading throughout the region, blood and platelets are still needed. The closest blood donation center is Blood Assurance in Tullahoma. The company’s main location is in Chattanooga with another located in Cookeville.


Blood Assurance services 87 hospitals within a 120-mile radius of Chattanooga, including Saint Thomas River Park Hospital.


“All of the donated blood stays within your community,” says Vickie Shelton, donor recruiter for Tullahoma’s Blood Assurance center.


During the first 10 days of the spread of the virus, Shelton claims individuals remained skeptical about donating until it was discovered the virus couldn’t be transmitted by blood.

The donation center is one of the esseantial places which will be kept open during the stay-at-home order. The center is putting out a call for both blood and platelets.


“We have begun taking appointments,” says Shelton. “We are trying to separate people and not crowd them into the center in order to decrease the chance of spreading illness.”

The center is open five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and every third Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.


“We had an incredible turnout for blood donations after the recent tornadoes struck Cookeville and Nashville, but blood only has a shelf-life of 52 days,” says Shelton.


If interested in donating, Shelton recommends eating a meal beforehand and staying hydrated. A mini-physical and screening is performed beforehand with the entire process taking about 30 minutes.


“Donating blood has always been important, but we must make donors aware blood is extremely needed,” says Shelton. “During the virus, we must keep the need for blood and platelets in the forefront of our minds. This need will always be important and continues to be now.”


One donation of a pint of blood could possibly save the lives of three people. Platelets used to treat cancer patients are also needed, and only have a shelf-life of five days.


Call 931-461-5773 or visit bloodassurance.org to make an appointment or for more information.

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