COVID-19 places strain on blood supplies

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Existing and new blood donors are encouraged to make an appointment now to give the gift of life as COVID-19 and the flu season impact on supplies.

More than 14,000 donors are needed leading up to the Easter long weekend to ensure adequate supplies of blood in Australia.

Westmead Hospital Transfusion Lab senior scientist Hayley Keenan said the coronavirus and the flu season could put the nation’s blood supply under pressure as existing donors become unwell.

“Last minute cancellations of blood donations are putting a dent in blood stocks at a time when donors are needed,” Hayley said.

“There is no evidence coronavirus is transmitted by blood transfusion.

‘Westmead Hospital relies on blood donors and the services of the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to provide us with adequate blood supplies so we can help save lives.

“Each type of blood donation is used for different medical treatments including cancer, surgical, obstetrics, orthopaedic and trauma patients.”

The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood has processes in place to ensure the safety of the blood supply and donors, including regular disinfection of all areas, restrictions on non-donating visitors to their centres, additional hand sanitisers and social distancing measures.

The service does not allow people who are unwell to donate blood.

To view their COVID-19 regulations and to find your closest donor centre, click here.