OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Congresswoman Kendra Horn donated blood to the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) on Friday.
Horn donated blood in OBI’s bloodmobile after learning that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a “tremendous toll” on the state’s blood supply, according to an OBI news release.
OBI is in urgent need of blood donors after several blood drive cancellations, according to the news release.
“Our state is critically low on life-saving blood as a result of the pandemic,” Horn said. “Donating blood is an easy way show up for our neighbors. As our state continues to reopen, our hospitals and healthcare providers will need more lifesaving blood donations. Thank you to the VA, our veterans, and the Oklahoma Blood Institute for leading the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign to give back during the COVID-19 crisis. If you’re able, please make an appointment to donate blood.”
Two out of three mobile blood drives were canceled in April and May due to COVID-19 concerns. Also, less than half of the usual number of donors are showing up to donate at scheduled blood drives. Seventy percent of OBI’s blood supply is generated by community blood drives.
“We are so grateful to Congresswoman Horn for supporting patients in Oklahoma and for encouraging constituents to do the same,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We must ensure a robust blood supply as summer approaches and hospitals perform more surgeries, critical treatments, and procedures. Oklahoma Blood Institute provides lifesaving blood products to VA hospitals and facilities in our state, and we proudly support our veterans and military.”
Healthy community members ages 16 and older are strongly encouraged to give blood. OBI officials recommend making an appointment to give blood to allow for recommended social distancing.
Oklahoma Blood Institute’s donor centers and mobile blood drives are doing the following in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
• Instituting additional cleaning methods;
• Decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently;
• Social distancing at donation centers and mobile blood drives;
• All phlebotomy staff wear masks;
• Staff members and donors will have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility.
“Oklahoma Blood Institute is following recommendations and guidelines set forth by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks). Oklahoma Blood Institute is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion,” the news release states.