The Carolina Blood Drive returns for its 32nd year on June 2, with extra safety protocols to keep donors safe from the spread of COVID-19.
The Employee Forum and the American Red Cross are working together to encourage the Carolina community to donate blood to provide an available supply for patients who rely on blood donations.
According to Jim Potts, associate chemical hygiene officer with UNC Environment, Health and Safety and chair of the blood drive planning committee, blood donations are desperately needed during the pandemic.
“At the start of the pandemic, blood drives were canceled across the country, which created a critical shortage of blood to our nation’s hospitals,” Potts said. “The Carolina Blood Drive is the ninth-largest blood drive in the U.S., and we need 900 blood donors to make appointments to do our part and help continue to ensure a stable blood supply during this uncertain time. We cannot do this without the support of our community, and we appreciate and thank everyone who walks in the doors at the Dean E. Smith Center.”
The Red Cross has implemented CDC-recommended sanitary measures to ensure the health of staff, volunteers and donors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional precautions include:
- Checking staff, donor and volunteer temperatures before entering the drive to make sure they are healthy.
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the drives and throughout the donation process.
- Following social distancing between donors including entry, donation and refreshment areas.
- Ensuring staff, donors and volunteers wear face masks or coverings and providing masks to those who need them.
- Routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment and donor-touched areas.
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves often.
- Using sterile collection sets and an aseptic scrub for every donation.
The Carolina Blood Drive, now in its 32nd year, has potentially impacted more than 100,000 patients who require blood transfusions, including those who need surgery, cancer patients or trauma victims. This year’s drive has the potential to help hundreds of more patients, especially if the drive reaches its goal of 900 donors.
How to donate blood
Donors are encouraged to make an appointment online by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross app or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. Donation times are available between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Walk-ins will also be accepted. Free parking is available at the Smith Center, or donors can take Chapel Hill Transit to the Smith Center. All donors at the Carolina Blood Drive will receive a commemorative T-shirt and free snacks.
Donating blood or volunteering at the drive can be considered “work time” with a supervisor’s approval under the Community Service Leave policy. Those who want to volunteer their time at the drive should fill out the volunteer form.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.