AUSTIN, Texas — We Are Blood, which provides blood to 40 hospitals in Central Texas, is asking people to donate blood and raise supplies in preparation for any potential coronavirus outbreak in the area.
There are currently no confirmed coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, cases in Travis County, and the risk to the public is low, Austin Public Health said.
At least four blood drives in the Austin area have been canceled as companies have asked their employees to work from home over coronavirus concerns, Nick Canedo, We Are Blood's vice president of community engagement, told KVUE.
In addition, blood donation centers and mobile drives are seeing fewer donors in attendance.
On Monday, We Are Blood collected approximately 60% of the donations they anticipated, according to Canedo.
This shortage can also be attributed to individuals staying home sick with the flu, Canedo added.
"All of that is coming together for a perfect storm," he said.
We Are Blood said it is an important time for the public to donate if they can.
"Blood donation is such an important topic for us to address with the community right now," the organization said. "We Are Blood is encouraging healthy, eligible donors to donate at our donation centers or mobile blood drives now to help maintain a healthy blood supply for our hospitals, should the public reaction to any potential coronavirus cases in our area or potential school and business closures cause a downturn in donations."
Each canceled blood drive equates to approximately 30 fewer donations the organization has in its supply, Canedo said.
On Monday, KVUE confirmed that a person who traveled to India from Austin has tested positive for coronavirus.
Blood donation centers in areas of the country with more confirmed coronavirus cases are already experiencing significant drops in donations and hitting critically low levels of blood inventory, Canedo said.
According to the FDA, which regulates blood centers in the U.S., it cited no evidence that coronavirus is transferable through blood donation.
However, in addition to routine sanitary measures We Are Blood takes in their daily practice, they have increased wiping down surfaces regularly due to heightened concerns of the coronavirus.
If you'd like to donate, you can schedule an appointment online or call 512-206-1266.
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