Tryston Ogle donated blood for the first time at the 2019 Student Council sponsored blood drive.

In the wake of COVID-19 responses, Vitalant is urging schools, businesses, religious institutions and civic groups to continue organizing blood drives and individuals to continue donating blood, unless local public health officials specifically direct otherwise. Blood drives represent more than 60% of the nation’s blood supply—and are events critical to health care in our country. If blood drives are canceled, it could jeopardize patient care.

To that end, the blood drive being organized by the Sully Buttes student council will be held as scheduled on Monday, March 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Center. “I really want to stress how important this blood drive is at this time in our lives,” said organizer Mary Jo Stier. “Donors can go online and register, or they can call me at the school 258-2617 from 8:00-11:00 a.m.” Student body president Kendra Kleven is also a contact for the drive, 280-7633.

In order to ensure donor safety, Vitalant will make the following changes for the blood drive:

1. Spacing of beds

2. If you are in need of a blanket (some do when giving doubles) the blanket will only be used one time.

3. Squeeze balls will be sanitized after each donor.

4. Snacks - we will not be able to give homemade goods. They will have to be individualized packages.

5. Coordinator will sign the donors in.

6. Temperatures will be taken prior to entering in the main room. You must have a temperature of 99.5 or below.

Coronavirus is on everyone’s minds and rightfully so. But it’s extremely important right now for healthy people to continue to give blood while following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies. With school closures and business shutdowns, more than 25% of blood collections have disappeared—almost overnight.

If you are not feeling well, please do not donate; Vitalant does NOT test for COVID-19.

Here’s what Vitalant is doing to protect donors:

• Only healthy people are encouraged to come give blood. In fact, donors must be feeling well and free of respiratory illness symptoms, including fever, to be eligible to donate.

• People who meet certain travel and other at-risk criteria for coronavirus infection are deferred ahead of time from donating.

• Our staff wears gloves and personal protective gear; they wipe down donor-touched areas often and after every collection using a disinfectant.

• Staff members use sterile, single-use collection sets for each donor and scrub the donor’s arm for 30 seconds before the collection.

• Staff members who don’t feel well are required to stay home.

Not having enough blood to meet basic patient needs will cause another public health crisis. While elective surgeries may be canceled, many patients cannot afford to wait for lifesaving blood and platelet donations. If you have any questions regarding donating please call us at 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).

In these difficult times, giving blood is something healthy individuals can do to help the sick. The only source for blood—literally in many hospital procedures, the source of life—is another human being.