COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Did you know that blood drive cancellations nationwide since early March have resulted in more than 200,000 fewer blood donations?
WIS reporter Joe Gorchow visited the American Red Cross facility in Columbia to spotlight the need for healthy blood donors. He did so to illustrate the measures in place to create a safe experience and explain the importance of giving during a Global Pandemic.
Upon his arrival at the Bull Street location in Columbia, they asked a series of questions about potential exposure to COVID-19 and then took his temperature.
"Which is not a normal procedure for people that are giving blood," American Red Cross spokesperson Maya Franklin said.
Gorchow's temperature of 98.8 degrees met the requirements to advance to the desk: next step, hand sanitizer, and another round of questions. Then the fun part, a needle inserted into his vein to draw the blood. Gorchow cringed and held his breath. He smiled shortly afterward and added that at least he didn't scream.
On a more serious note, given the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of blood drives in our country were canceled, limiting blood donation opportunities.
"Always a concern we might not be able to meet demand," Franklin added. "We don't have enough donors to meet the demand of hospitals on a regular basis when we don't have a pandemic."
To ease concerns, the American Red Cross adheres to social distancing principles, while maintaining its high level of cleanliness in the facility to protect staff and donors.
"During a time when people are really paying attention to that and wanting to ensure their own safety and the safety of others," Franklin said.
Even in this time of uncertainty of the spread of COVID-19, people still come to donate.
"I'm surprised and pleased to see that a lot of people are here," said Bill Hamilton, who donated at the facility.
"It's not just COVID. Blood supplies are needed for everybody else," added Brad Green, another donor at the facility.
Although Gorchow made it look painful, he told us that it was relatively painless and vital to give to save lives.
Local blood donation opportunities for the next two months are listed below.
First Northeast Baptist Church
311 Sparkleberry Lane, Columbia, S.C.
2 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Lexington Medical Center
2720 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia, S.C.
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Lowe's - Red Bank
5570 Platt Springs Rd., Lexington, S.C.
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Grace Baptist Church
219 West Calhoun St., Sumter, S.C.
2 p.m. - 7 p.m.
720 Gracern Rd # 450, Columbia, S.C.
11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Christus Victor Lutheran
400 Harbison Boulevard, Columbia, S.C.
1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Mt Hebron United Methodist Church
3050 Leaphart Road, West Columbia, S.C
2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Calvary Chapel Northeast
1120 Sparkleberry Lane, Columbia, S.C.
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.