Closures lead to blood shortage; people urged to donate

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Because of COVID-19 concerns, more than 60 blood drives in West Virginia have been canceled, and 7,000 have been canceled across the country, according to Red Cross officials.

The need for blood isn't going anywhere for patients who need surgery or have life-threatening diseases.

Huntington resident Marcia Canterbury took a break from working at home to donate Wednesday.

"A lot of us feel the desire to be helpful," she said. "I've seen recently more ads highlighting the need, so I thought I'd come and make a donation today."

The Red Cross in Huntington usually holds a few blood drives a week at schools and various places, but with so many closures, they're no longer able to do that, so they're adding days they're taking blood at their building along Veterans Memorial Boulevard.

The Kentucky Blood Center held a drive at Kings Daughters Medical Center Wednesday.

"We have the ability to save three people's lives with your one donation," donor recruiter specialist Shera Moulton said. "It's wonderful to see the support the community is doing for us."

The U.S. Surgeon General is urging the public to give blood, saying social distancing doesn't have to mean social disengagement.

The Red Cross is taking steps to ensure the safety of donors and staff, including taking donors' temperatures before they get started.

To find a blood drive near you, you can go to this site -- https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html