Two very successful blood drives were held in West Hartford this past week, and at least three more are scheduled.
By Ronni Newton
One of the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many of the businesses and organizations that typically host blood drives have shut down temporarily, leading the American Red Cross to issue urgent pleas for blood donations.
“As blood drives are canceled due to coronavirus concerns, we are strongly encouraging healthy individuals to give blood to help patients in need. The need for blood is constant, and will continue even as the outbreak grows,” the local chapter of the American Red Cross posted on its Facebook page earlier this week.
The Town of West Hartford is doing its part to help, and has already hosted two blood drives in the past week in the cavernous Town Hall Auditorium, where there is plenty of space for privacy and proper physical distancing measures to be enforced.
“We’re having blood drives, and we’re adding blood drives,” said Helen Rubino-Turco, West Hartford’s director of Social Services and Leisure Services.
She credits town leaders for recognizing the urgency of the situation.
“This is a unique situation, and we are uniquely set up to answer the call,” Rubino-Turco said. Blood donors can use a separate entrance to access the auditorium, which ensures the extra safety protocols needed amid the coronavirus epidemic can be followed.
There is a large room, which allows for extra spacing between donors. All potential donors are carefully screened and interviewed, and have their temperatures taken in advance. There is a facility for hand washing as well.
West Hartford Town Hall hosted blood drives on March 24 and 25.
“Between the Tuesday and Wednesday blood drives this week at the Town Hall, we collected 123 units which will provide lifesaving treatment and transfusions for up to 369 patients in our Connecticut hospitals,” American Red Cross representatives Danielle Huntington reported to town officials. “I truly can’t believe it. We also already have 50 appointments scheduled for Tuesday’s blood drive.”
The referenced Tuesday blood drive will be Tuesday, March 31, from 8:45 a.m.-2 p.m.
In addition, blood drives are scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and Tuesday, April 21, from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and additional dates may be scheduled as well.
To make an appointment to donate blood to the American Red Cross at the West Hartford Town Hall Auditorium, call 800-733-2767.
Questions can also be addressed to Red Cross representative Danielle Huntington at [email protected].
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