December 5, 2021

Blood drives adapt procedures during coronavirus

Donors undeterred

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Kevin Thompson, of Cortland, prepares to get blood drawn by a Red Cross worker Saturday during a blood drive at Homer’s First United Methodist Church.

Saturday’s blood drive at Homer’s First United Methodist Church wasn’t like a normal blood drive, said Sharon Pesesky, the site coordinator.

Donors had their temperature taken and were asked to use hand sanitizer before entering the donation area, she said. Some wore face masks.

More than 40 people donated blood.

“Every donor that’s come in has been prepared to deal with the differences,” Pesesky said.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancelation of nearly 1,000 blood drives in New York resulting in about 24,000 uncollected blood donations, said Katie Potter, the external communications manager for the American Red Cross’s Biomedical Services.

“While the Red Cross has been able to meet immediate patient needs for the time being, there are many uncertainties with the coronavirus outbreak and we are encouraging people to schedule appointments for the weeks to come to help ensure an ongoing stable supply,” Potter said in an email.

Upcoming blood drives

You can make an appointment to give blood at one of these blood drives at give.html/find-drive:

  • Tuesday — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ramada Inn, 2 River St., Cortland.
  • April 28 — 2 to 7 p.m., Ramada Inn, 2 River St., Cortland.
  • May 1 — 2 to 6 p.m., YWCA, 14 Clayton Ave., Cortland.
  • May 12 — 1 to 6 p.m., Dryden Veterans Memorial home, 2272 Dryden Road, Dryden.
  • May 14 — 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Cortlandville Fire Department, 999 Route 13, Cortland.

Potter said new protocols are in place to make blood drives safe, including:

  • Asking donors to schedule ahead of time to prevent clustering of people.
  • Having donors and staff wear face masks.
  • Checking temperatures of donors and staff before entering a blood drive.
  • Providing hand sanitizer for donors.
  • Routinely wiping down surfaces.

Pesesky said church volunteers wiped down surfaces Friday night with a bleach and water mixture to help prevent the spread of the virus.

She also changed who she asked to volunteer and the number of volunteers, from six to three.

“A lot of them (church volunteers) are older and so I tried to ask ones that are beneath that target age,” Pesesky said.

Donors were not deterred.

“It seems like right now it’s especially important” to give blood, said Herb Haines of Homer. His decision to donate was in part from hearing reports that blood supply was low.

Haines also said he wasn’t bothered by the changes made to imporve the donors’ safety against the virus.

“I think it’s absolutely necessary,” he said about the changes in how the drive operated.

“It’s fine,” said Carrie Ryan of Homer. The only difference she really noticed was having to use sanitizer more frequently than she normally would at a blood drive.

“I want to help out,” she said. “This is the easiest way to do it for me.”