A blood drive at St. Mark Parish Center in Edgewood, July 21, helped answer the need for blood donations, while COVID-19 mitigation efforts by Red Cross personnel kept donors safe.
The Edgewood drive was a volunteer project sponsored by the Wood Center Eagles 4-H Club.
Brooke Kolka, team lead for the Red Cross, said the Edgewood drive had 73 appointments for blood donation. Kolka, a 2015 West Delaware graduate, said she hasn’t seen a decrease in donors during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, she said she’s seen just the opposite.
“The virus has brought people out to the blood drives,” she said. “It has given people something to do. It gets them out of the house. It kind of surprises me a bit.”
She said the need for blood remains great. “That hasn’t changed. There is always a need.”
Kolka said the virus has made some changes to procedures at drive sites.
“Masks are required. We provide them if someone doesn’t have one. We wipe everything down, including chairs when someone gets up. We deep clean the beds after every person finishes donating. Even the hand grippers are covered with cloth.”
Kolka said social distancing of six feet is practiced, with beds spread out and extra space provided at the snack table donors stop at after finishing their donation.
Donation appointments must be made in advance. The extra sanitation measures have meant that walk-ins are not taken at drives for the time being.
Kolka said donors can feel safe at blood drives. “We have so many safety measures in place. We have extra questions donors must answer. We screen their temperature before they may enter the donation site.”
Kolka said the large turn-out was not surprising. “Turn-outs at drives in the area are usually big. In this area, there is a big sense of community. Everyone pulls together and comes together.”