Coronavirus crisis: Tampa Bay blood donation centers facing shortage, urging community to help

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TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Blood donation centers are open and hoping the community will rally together amid a shortage triggered by COVID-19.

So far, more than 1,900 blood drives have been cancelled in Florida through May, according to OneBlood’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations Susan Forbes.

“The rate that we’re seeing blood drives cancelled is unprecedented,” Forbes said.

The concern now is that OneBlood is approaching nearly 27,000 units of blood statewide that they’re missing because of those businesses and schools that have closed for the foreseeable future.

SunCoast Blood Bank is experiencing something similar, according to Director of Community Development Jayne Giroux.

“At this time last year, SunCoast had just over 1,000 units of blood products in our inventory, which is a three-day supply,” Giroux said. “Today we have 564 units in our inventory.”

Even with no end to the spread of the pandemic in sight, Forbes is optimistic based on the response OneBlood has seen so far.

“We are seeing a tremendous response by donors throughout our service area answering our call for blood donation,” Forbes said. “What we need now is for this to be sustained for months to come.”

Full blood donations can be made every 56 days. Platelets, which only have a five-day shelf life, can be donated every seven days, Forbes said.

In a press conference Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams made a plea to the American people, hoping to reassure those concerned about catching the virus while donating.

“Give blood today. You’ll feel good about it, and you’ll be helping your country and community during this crisis and you might even save a life,” Adams said.

Below is list of open OneBlood donation locations, most of which are open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To find a location near your zip code, check here:

  • Brandon Donor Center 727 West Lumsden Road, Brandon,
  • Plant City Donor Center 2909 James L Redman PKWY, Plant City
  • Tampa – Dale Mabry Donor Center 15427 North Dale Mabry, Tampa
  • Tampa – Fletcher Donor Center 5301 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa,
  • St. Petersburg – Tyrone Donor Center 6808 22nd Ave N., St. Petersburg
  • Tampa – Kennedy Donor Center 4041 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL
  • Zephyrhills Donor Center 38040 Market Square Dr., Zephyrhills
  • Wesley Chapel Donor Center 5319 Village Market Dr., Wesley Chapel

Suncoast Blood Bank has the following locations accepting donations:

  • Bradenton Donation Center Bayshore Shopping Center 6026 14th Street W., Bradenton
  • Lakewood Ranch Donation Center Lakewood Ranch Plaza 1731 LWR Blvd., Bradenton
  • Sarasota Donation Center 1760 Mound St., Sarasota
  • Venice Donation Center Bird Bay Plaza 539 US Hwy 41 Bypass, North Venice

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