Blood Assurance, the sole provider of blood products to Chattanooga area hospitals, is seeking O-positive donors due to a shortage of recent donations and an increase in need, according to a news release.
With the cancellation of many routine blood drives, low volumes of volunteers and increased hospital usage amid the pandemic, the blood bank says there is less than one day's worth of O-positive blood. O-negative and AB-negative supplies are low as well.
"O-positive blood can be used by any positive recipient and is the most common blood type in the United States, so it is imperative we get O-positive donors in as soon as possible," said Dr. Elizabeth Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance, in a statement. "COVID-19 has limited our ability to collect at schools, hospitals and many manufacturing facilities, which make up a large part of our collections. That's why we need people with these blood types to give as soon as possible."
Blood Assurance is offering all donors a free TEAM USA Blood Donor Beach Towel and a chance to win one of three Big Green Egg grills if they donate twice before Oct. 1, the news release states.
Those who refer others to donate will also receive an extra entry to win one of the grills.
In light of the pandemic, free COVID-19 antibody testing will also be offered to donors, and Blood Assurance has new protocols in place to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
All donors and staff members are required to wear masks, and those who wish to donate must register beforehand so that appointments can be spaced out.
According to the news release, to be eligible to donate blood, people must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health.
Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and to eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
To schedule an appointment or find a nearby donor center or mobile drive, visit www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628 or text 'BAGIVE' to 999777.