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Still in need: Here's how to donate blood locally during coronavirus pandemic
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Mike Mize jokes around with a LifeSouth donor service technician Tuesday, March 24, 2020, as he and wife Tari donate blood. With blood drives being canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, blood centers are seeing a shortage and are in need of donations. - photo by Scott Rogers

With blood drives being canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, blood centers are seeing a shortage and are in need of donations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a March 19 statement that people who are able to give blood and are not sick are encouraged to donate.

“The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations,” according to the CDC. “CDC encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19. CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe.”

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Tari Mize donates blood Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at LifeSouth Community Blood Center on McEver Road in Gainesville. With blood drives being canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, blood centers are seeing a shortage and are in need of donations. - photo by Scott Rogers

Grant Toth, regional director for LifeSouth, which has a Gainesville donor center, said the center is open as usual and is taking extra precautions.

“We’re taking all of our normal rigorous cleaning precautions and amped those up. We’re following the CDC guidelines, including cleaning every single bed when each donor gets in and out of it,” Toth said. “... Changing out gloves between each donor, which is something that we always do already, but just making sure that those are visible to the public so they feel more comfortable while donating blood, to know that it is safe.”

Toth said donations are especially needed during the current shortage.

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LifeSouth Community Blood Center donor service technician Jennifer Rivera-Nichols takes blood donations Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at the McEver Road location in Gainesville. With blood drives being canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, blood centers are seeing a shortage and are in need of donations. - photo by Scott Rogers

“We’ve had a lot of blood drive cancellations, so the blood products that the hospitals can count on are no longer there,” Toth said. “We are asking the community that is feeling healthy and well to come to our centers to donate blood as well as go to blood drives that are not canceled.”

Blood donated at LifeSouth goes to several local hospitals, including Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Habersham Medical Center and Northside Hospital- Forsyth.

LifeSouth

LifeSouth has a community donation center at 1200 McEver Road Extension in Gainesville. The center is open seven days a week, and donation appointments can be scheduled online or over the phone at 770-538-0500.

Several blood drives are also scheduled in Hall County in coming weeks:

  • 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 29, J&J Foods, 1075 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW, Gainesville

  • 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 4, Walmart, 3875 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood

  • 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5, Walmart, 400 Shallowford Road, Gainesville

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, The Norton Agency, 434 Green St., Gainesville

American Red Cross

The Red Cross also has blood drives planned in Hall County in April:

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 2, C.W. Davis Middle School, 4335 Falcon Parkway, Flowery Branch

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 3, Martha Hope Cabin, 528 Prior St. NE, Gainesville 

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, Martha Hope Cabin, 528 Prior St. NE, Gainesville 

Regional events