An urgent need for blood donations has brought the American Red Cross to Keene State College for another blood drive.
But how will COVID-19 affect the routine and regulations surrounding the blood drive?
The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive in the Mabel Brown Room on Friday April 9. To keep the donors safe the ARC is enacting different security measures to keep those working and donating at the blood drive safe.
Donor Recruiter for American Red Cross Megan Nantel said, “It starts at the door, with a temperature check.” Before people can enter the drive to donate, they need to check their temperature at a new “temperature kiosk” described by Nantel as, “a tablet attached to a tripod, it scans the forehead of the donors as they come in.” A potential donor’s temperature needs to be below a certain point to allow them to donate. Megan Nantel said, “As long as you are under 99.6, so 99.5 and below, then you are allowed in.” Nantel also mentioned that distancing is more apparent during this blood drive, “We are spreading everything out.” Lastly Nantel said, “We are sanitizing everything.”
Jessica Gagne Cloutier, Director of Student Involvement also commented on the security measures around the blood drive in context of COVID-19. “The blood drive is actually managed by the American Red Cross, so they have their own independent COVID policies,” said Cloutier. She also added, “Keene State has all of our policies, so for us only students, faculty and staff who have a current COVID wristband are eligible to donate.” Cloutier also emphasized the importance of these safety measures by saying, “It is kind of impossible to donate blood six feet away from your phlebotomist (person who draws blood) so there is some closer contact, which is why we make sure that it is only our folks (KSC only) who are COVID tested and only their team who is following the Red Cross protocol.”
With all these measures put in place for the blood drive some members of the student population have said they feel relatively safe from the dangers of COVID-19. One student, Junior Lindsae Loomis said, “I mean everybody has to wear masks. If they don’t, they’re probably kicked out.” She also added another reason for why she is not too worried about COVID-19 while donating, “It’s a blood drive, you would expect it to be pretty sanitary.”
Aside from COVID-19 Nantel, Cloutier and Loomis all said that it is important to donate blood.
“After last month’s storms down south, we lost over 20,000 units,” said Nantel. She said that this shortage has increased the need for donors, “So we’re still trying to fight off that shortage.” Nantel said the goal for this blood drive is 25 units. This would mean that the blood drive would need to see about “35 to 40 people signed up.”
Regarding the importance of the blood drive Cloutier said, “Keene State has been holding a blood drive twice a year for well over a decade so it’s really just kind of a tradition and a way for our campus to serve the larger community and region.”
“I think it’s a good thing to do to donate blood if you can, because there are always people who need it,” said Loomis. She said that she plans to donate blood at the drive happening next week.
Those who want to donate can go to redcrossblood.org and enter in their zip code to find the nearest blood drive to them as well as links to set up appointments.
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