(June 19, 2020) The Blood Bank of Delmarva will hold its first summer blood drive at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street, Wednesday, June 24 and Thursday, June 25 beginning at 9 a.m.
The blood bank typically holds one blood drive in Ocean City a year in January.
Tony Prado, communications specialist for the blood bank, said the additional drive is to help replenish the blood supply since the covid-19 pandemic caused a shortage.
“We don’t usually go to Ocean City in the summertime, but because we live in unprecedented times, it calls for unprecedented measures,” Prado said.
He added that the blood bank had sufficient levels at the beginning of the pandemic because a few people continued to donate and since much of the country was on lockdown, there were fewer accidents. Many hospitals also suspended elective surgeries.
But on May 13, the blood bank issued a blood emergency.
“That was because hospitals were preparing for the fact that they were getting word that some of the governors were going to lift some of the restrictions,” Prado said. “It’s not to say that we’re out of the restrictions completely, but things like elective surgeries came back. More people have been slowly going back to work.”
He said that as people ventured out more, hospital blood orders picked up and the blood bank’s reserves plummeted.
“The response from Delmarva has been great,” Prado said. “We’ve since been able to breath a little easier, but the reason why we’re having this blood drive in Ocean City - the battle never ends for us.”
He said the blood bank needs to reach a seven-day supply at minimum. Prado hopes this blood drive will collect 250 units, meaning that it will need about 300 people to donate.
This is about half the people that donated at the January drive, partially because of social distancing rules. The donor beds will all be at least six feet apart, according to Prado.
Other safety measures include requiring everyone to wear a mask and undergo a temperature check.
“You must be symptom free of any kind of illness, whether it’s the flu or the cough or the cold,” Prado said. “We don’t want you to be coughing or having a runny nose or anything that’s going to preclude you from donating blood at the moment. We want you to be feeling healthy and well.”
Donors will also be asked the usual screening questions to ensure their health, as well as getting their blood pressure and pulse checked. Those waiting for their appointment inside will also be seated six feet away from each other.
Donors eating or drinking in the recovery area will not be required to wear masks.
Prado said that the other basics still apply, such as eating well and hydrating at least an hour before donating.
Donors must be at least 17 years old and weight at least 110 pounds. Donors must provide a photo ID or two other forms of identification, including date of birth.
Prado said he was grateful for the opportunity to hold a drive at the convention center in the middle of summer.
“The tourism industry is very important, locally, and usually they’re so busy that we don’t have a shot at being there in the summertime,” Prado said. “It’s a little different this year, so we have an opportunity to do some good work with the folks in Ocean City.”
To donate, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or visit donate.bbd.org/donor/schedules/geo and search “Ocean City.”