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Blood supply dramatically impacted by coronavirus fears

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center blood drive reassuring donors it’s safe to give

SAN ANTONIO – Aware that potential donors these days need reassurance it’s safe to give blood, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center has taken extra precautions during its blood drive that wraps up Wednesday.

Working with the city of San Antonio, the Alamodome was chosen as the primary site for the appointment-only blood drive since it has the space needed to promote social distancing.

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center holding 3-day blood drive at Alamodome

Blood drive organizers tried to minimize the risk of potentially spreading the coronavirus.

Immediately before being allowed in the mobile unit, each person has their temperature checked. There also was an abundance of hand sanitizers and plastic gloves worn by technicians.

People are giving blood at the Alamodome at a blood driver to replenish supplies following fears of coronavirus.
People are giving blood at the Alamodome at a blood driver to replenish supplies following fears of coronavirus. (KSAT)

Abigail Driskill, who donated blood, said it was comforting to know the extra precautions were taken.

“Every time I see someone leave, I see them wiping down the stations. So I see they’re taking precautions,” Driskill said.

Asked if the coronavirus can contaminate the blood supply, Elizabeth Waltham, chief operating officer at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, said although there is no commercially available test to check for contamination, “We’re not at all worried. There is no indication that the coronavirus can be transmitted from a donor to a patient."

Waltman said the goal is to collect 600 pints daily through Wednesday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Blood donation appointments at the Alamodome and other locations, including New Braunfels and Victoria, can be made on the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center website.

KSAT Community is also hosting a blood drive with KSAT Community Partner, University Health System, on Friday. Click here for more information.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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