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Blood supply in crisis: Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin declares statewide emergency appeal for donations

Milwaukee – June 21, 2020

Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin has declared a statewide emergency need for blood donations. 

“The blood supply has reached crisis proportions,” said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Tom Abshire, M.D.  “The unprecedented shift in the environment has created the “perfect storm” resulting in a national blood shortage, which is also impacting our local communities. The blood shortage means we are currently unable to provide our hospital partners with the usual supply of blood products. Patient lives could be at risk, particularly if trauma situations occur, if we are not able to maintain an adequate blood supply.”

Versiti indicates that since the start of COVID-19 in March and April, nearly 600 blood drives have been canceled statewide with many schools, businesses and churches unable to hold drives. This has resulted in a loss of 15,000 blood donations.

In addition to blood drives canceled, stay-at-home orders have contributed to a drop in donation appointments, and the hospitals which initially canceled procedures, recently ramped up patient care quickly, including elective surgeries. Trauma cases have also been on the rise. These events have contributed to the crisis at hand.  

Donor safety measures in place
To ensure donor safety, Versiti has implemented increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures, based upon FDA and CDC guidance, in all donor centers and at community blood drives.  In addition, Versiti requires all employees to wear cloth face coverings as well as donors, when in a Versiti facility. Donors are asked to bring their own face covering if they have one.

Social distancing is also being practiced at all donation centers and community blood drives, and the temperature and clinical symptoms of all potential blood donors is being taken, as well as that of staff members. 

Versiti indicates that all blood types are needed and as always, there is a particular need for O negative blood – the universal blood type used in trauma situations. 
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-877-BE-A-HERO or at versiti.org/Wisconsin.  Appointments are strongly encouraged. With coronavirus safety precautions in place, walk-ins could experience wait times.

About Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Milwaukee that specializes in blood services, esoteric diagnostic testing, organ, tissue and stem cell 
donation, medical services and leading-edge research. We advance patient care by delivering life-saving products and services. For more information, visit versiti.org/Wisconsin.

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