VALDOSTA – The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect the local blood supply, as canceled blood drives throughout the coming months are causing a significant drop in donations, according to a statement released by LifeSouth. 

Many businesses, schools and churches remain closed during this time, and all typically host drives with LifeSouth. 

"The decrease in blood drives has resulted in a low community blood supply, while the need for blood has rapidly increased as hospitals resume elective surgeries and continue treatments for cancer, other diseases like sickle cell anemia and daily traumas," LifeSouth representatives said. 

LifeSouth needs donors of all blood types, and is in critical need of Type O and B donors.

“We are so grateful to our donors who came in to donate as our community was first impacted by COVID-19, and we ask blood donors and those who have not given before to continue to help,” said Brite Whitaker, director of outreach with LifeSouth. “We want to make sure the blood is on the shelves when our local patients need it most.”

LifeSouth encourages all eligible donors to book an appointment to donate as soon as possible to ensure a safe and stable blood supply is available for patients. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is the nonprofit community blood bank that serves the South Georgia Medical Center.

LifeSouth has remained fully operational throughout the coronavirus pandemic as an essential service provider and assures local donors it is safe to donate blood, LifeSouth representatives said. 

The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives, and the organization is taking every precaution to maintain a safe environment for donors and staff in its centers and bloodmobiles, representatives said. Blood donors are needed every day, and anyone who is in good health is encouraged to donate.

LifeSouth’s donor center is located at 301 Woodrow Wilson Drive. All donor centers and bloodmobiles are enforcing social distancing between donors, implementing heightened sanitation protocols and encouraging donors to wait in their cars until their appointment time.

Donors must be at least 17, or 16 years old with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also needed.

For additional information, call LifeSouth toll-free, (888) 795-2707 or visit www.lifesouth.org.

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