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Blood drive scheduled, supply critically low

SALYERSVILLE – A blood drive is slated for later this month, with the Kentucky Blood Center noting that all donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

SALYERSVILLE – A blood drive is slated for later this month, with the Kentucky Blood Center noting that all donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

On Monday, November 23, they will be set up in the fellowship hall of the Salyersville First Baptist Church, located on Dixie Avenue across from Ramey Memorial Park, from 1 to 5 p.m. Donors must schedule donation appointments in advance by either going to kybloodcenter.org or calling 800-775-2522.

The Blood Center strives to maintain a three-to-four-day supply of blood to meet hospital needs. The supply has been at less than a half-day for several weeks. Massive traumas occur without warning, making it imperative that volunteers donate whenever they can to ensure blood is available at all times.

Kentucky Blood Center is offering free COVID-19 antibody testing to all donors through the end of the year. Donors who test positive for the antibodies may be recruited to donate convalescent plasma to help critically ill patients fight the coronavirus.

Mandy Brajuha, director of marketing for KBC, told the Independent earlier this year they had to cancel 128 blood drives in the wake of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing. From those 128 drives they were expecting to get 3,800 units of blood to serve the over 70 Kentucky hospitals.

“COVID-19 may not cause the need for blood, but car accidents, cancer and transplants still happen,” Brajuha said.

Amy LeVan, donor recruitment specialist support for KBC, said the additional spacing will allow them to accommodate more donors while keeping everyone safe.

“This is a difficult time, but we still have an obligation to help the hospitals,” LeVan said. There are still accidents, transplants, and babies born prematurely, which is why it’s so important. This is why people that are healthy need to donate.”

Brajuha told the Independent their mobile unit usually gets between 10 and 15 units per blood drive, but she hopes more people will step up and donate during this difficult time.

“I know a lot more people can roll up their sleeves down there,” Brajuha said. “This is a tangible thing you can do to help at a time when you don’t think there’s anything you can do. This is an irreplaceable gift you’re giving to these families.”

Blood donation continues to be important and safe for donors and KBC encourages all healthy individuals to donate when they can and as often as they are eligible. They will be maintaining proper social distancing, frequently sanitizing surfaces and offering prepackaged snacks at their drives. Hand sanitizer will be available at every blood donation site and the donor beds will be disinfected between every donation.

Face coverings will be required at the event and appointments are preferred. All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies and donors will receive KBC t-shirts while supplies last.

They do encourage blood donors to complete their healthy history questionnaire online before coming to the donor center by using QuickPass at kybloodcenter.org (on the day of donation) to reduce the donor’s time in the center and allow them to use their own personal devise for the task. Blood donation appointments are very important to help them manage the number of people at the donation sites.

Brajuha said they are looking at increasing their local presence in the communities. All future blood drives will be reported in the Independent and on our website, www.salyersvilleindependent.com.

KBC has two donor centers in Lexington, two in Louisville and locations in Pikeville and Somerset.

The May blood drive held in Salyersville yielded 31 pints of blood, which was a record for Magoffin County.

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