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Blood center calls for donors, anticipates ‘critical shortage’

The latest on the coronavirus from News 8 at 5 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Versiti Blood Center of Indiana says it needs at least 560 donors a day.

About 70 percent of Versiti’s donations are from blood drives with schools accounting for from 20%-30% of those donations. With schools closed and blood drives canceled, Versiti expects to lose 1,700 donations in the next month.

“We’re going to start seeing this real drop and if we don’t have donors start coming in now, we’re going to have a critical shortage,” Versiti’s Dr. Dan Waxman

Marshall McConnell has been donating regularly for nearly 40 years, but Versiti says “habitual donators” can’t increase their visits enough to make up for the 87,000 units of blood already lost nationally.

Mayor Joe Hogsett donated his blood Tuesday and encouraged others to follow his lead. Donating blood takes about an hour.

“I think that volunteering or donating blood or helping make our community safer and healthier is something that I would deem essential,” Hogsett said.

Donation centers say they’ll be screening people who want to donate. They say they want healthy people coming in, but even if symptoms aren’t there, the virus can’t be spread through a blood transfusion.

“You know, we certainly understand and recognize why folks are staying home,” said Duchess Adjei, regional communication director for the American Red Cross. “I mean, this is the directive from our local government. But every two seconds, somebody in the United States needs blood and so those things also do not stop.”

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