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LifeSouth Community Blood Centers has a reduced supply because of the aftermath of the COVID-19 virus. Bloodmobiles will visit numerous sites in coming weeks. CONTRIBUTED

LifeSouth faces critical need after canceled blood drives

MADISON – Canceled blood drives during recent months have led to a significant drop in donations. The impact of COVID-19 continues to decrease the local blood supply as LifeSouth Community Blood Centers works to sustain levels for rising needs of patients.

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 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,” Brite Whitaker, LifeSouth Director of Outreach, said. “We ask blood donors and those who have not given before to continue to help. 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.

LifeSouth has remained fully operational throughout the coronavirus pandemic as an essential service provider and assures local donors it is safe to donate blood. The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives, Whitaker said.

“The organization is taking every precaution to maintain a safe environment for donors and staff in its centers and bloodmobiles,” Whitaker said. “Blood donors are needed every day, and anyone who is in good health is encouraged to donate.”

LifeSouth has donor centers in Huntsville, in Madison at 8190 Madison Blvd., Albertville, Decatur, Cullman and Florence. LifeSouth’s bloodmobiles will continue to visit numerous locations in coming weeks. 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 years old (or 16 with parental permission), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also needed. For more information, call LifeSouth toll-free at 888-795-2707 or visit lifesouth.org.

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