Alexandria, VA

Despite the pandemic, Inova Blood Donor Services says participation in blood drives has remained high in the region. Inova expects that need to go up soon as more people begin to leave their homes.

On Thursday, July 30, the Inova Blood Donor Services’ Bloodmobile will be set up at Inova Alexandria Hospital’s paid visitor’s lot from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. to keep up the services’ fresh supply of blood.

“Surprisingly, since COVID, we’ve had some great donor response,” said Heather Wade, donor recruitment manager for Inova Blood Donor Services. “When the surgeon general, back in late March or early April that it is safe to go donate, he meant it and those donors came out. They came to keep blood supply health.”

Wade said once elective surgeries started again in May, however, there was a small decline in blood donor participation.

“We’ve been able to provide for every patient in the D.C. metro region, but we really need to get back to seeing 200 donors a day,” Wade said. “Now we’re seeing 150 to 170, so we do have some concerns.”

Blood donation at the Bloodmobile is something of a mixed bag, Wade said. While the vehicle doesn’t allow for six feet of social distancing, Wade said that the staff take appropriate precautions.

“We’ve put in a lot of safety precautions, some we were already doing but more frequently,” Wade said. “We ask all donors to wear a mask and we’re in masks. We space appointments out so we don’t have 12-15 people on a bus. We have five staff on a bus and two donors every 15 minutes. We ask people to keep their appointment time and if they can’t, to let us know. We disinfect every donor bed after each donor and before each donor.”

Wade asked that anyone who makes an appointment to donate has their IDs ready.

In late August, Wade said Inova Blood Donor Services is also planning to go to Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive) with two busses after the first trip had a great turnout.

Photo via Inova Blood Donor Services/Facebook

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