ROCKFORD, Ill. (March 10, 2020) – As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread in the United States, the Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) in cooperation with the AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism is urging individuals to make and keep donation appointments and organized blood drives to ensure continued adequacy of the local blood supply.

It is imperative that healthy individuals donate to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. If the outbreak of coronavirus expands, additional challenges may arise, which could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors and disrupt collection events. Because it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive optimal treatment.

“We are asking potential donors, both current and first-timers, to make and keep appointments to ensure that a sufficient blood supply will continue to be available for all patients who need it,” said Lisa Entrikin, CEO of the RRVBC. “Making a blood donation now, or scheduling a donation for the near future, will help to maintain the adequacy of our community’s blood supply.”

As more cases of coronavirus have been reported in the U.S., the blood community has increased its preparedness appropriately. According to federal officials, blood centers nationwide are seeing a decrease in donation appointments and cancellations, and cancellations of mobile blood drives because of travel restrictions and social distancing efforts.

Individuals do not risk contracting coronavirus through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion because respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted through those methods.

RRVBC will continue to monitor the ongoing spread of coronavirus and will provide additional updates if blood needs change.

The blood center needs to see 700 donors per week as the only provider of blood products and services to 10 regional hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin. Donations are typically down during the winter months for a variety of reasons, including severe weather and the regular flu season keeping people away.

If you’re a first-time donor, please bring a photo ID. You can donate whole blood every 56 days.