Trio of Illnesses Impacting Local Blood Supply

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A trio of respiratory illnesses is to blame for a decrease in blood donors across Middle Tennessee, according to Blood Assurance.

As cases of the flu, RSV and COVID-19 overwhelm hospitals, the community blood bank had less than a one-day’s supply of O-positive blood and a day’s worth of O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood last week. According to officials with the nonprofit, multiple mobile blood drives are being cancelled at businesses due to employees calling out sick. Additionally, the nonprofit is seeing fewer donors at its brick-and-mortar donation centers, with many postponing or cancelling due to illness.

“It’s quite alarming because it’s not even winter yet,” according to Christopher Swafford, chief operating officer for Blood Assurance. “You add these illnesses into the mix along with holiday travel and it’s just a perfect storm. I fear things are going to get worse before they get better, which is why it’s imperative for donors to show up now and help replenish the community blood supply.”

Healthy donors are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible by visiting
www.bloodassurance.org/schedule. Those who received their annual flu shot are permitted to donate, as well as those vaccinated against COVID-19.

In December, donors will be given a complimentary flannel blanket. Donors can learn more about additional incentives being offered by visiting www.bloodassurance.org.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating. Walk-ins are always welcome.

About Blood Assurance

Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving more than 70 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components to every area patient in need.