Reopening New Jersey: American Dream hosts Red Cross blood drive to deal with pandemic shortage

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- The American Dream mall hosted a Red Cross blood drive Wednesday to help replenish the supply that has been decimated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say the COVID-19 outbreak caused the cancellations of thousands of blood drives across the country, leading the Red Cross to reach out to partners with enough space to host new blood drives.

The American Dream drive was held from noon to 5 p.m. at The Rink, which organizers say was open and spacious enough to allow the necessary social distancing practices to take place for staff, donors and volunteers.

There is no ice currently on The Rink, and the rest of the mall remains closed.

Donors were asked to make an appointment to help manage donor flow and adhere to social distancing guidelines outlined by the American Red Cross, and it quickly filled up.

Officials say all Red Cross blood drives and donation centers follow standards of safety and infection control. To ensure the health of employees, volunteers and staff, precautions include:
--Checking temperatures of staff and donors before entering the drive to make sure they are healthy
--Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process
--Following social distancing between donors including entry, donation and refreshment areas
--Routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment and donor-touched areas
--Wearing gloves and changing gloves often
--Using sterile collection sets and an aseptic scrub for every donation.

To give blood, potential donors can download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

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