‘A huge difference’: Blood supply low nationally, but donations are high in Nevada County, region | TheUnion.com
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‘A huge difference’: Blood supply low nationally, but donations are high in Nevada County, region

Sam Corey
Staff Writer
Vitalant in Grass Valley has been a crucial suplier of blood for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

By the numbers

As of April 6

Number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada County: 32

Number in western county: 10

Number in eastern county: 22

Learn more at http://www.theunion.com/coronavirus

The coronavirus impacts things that are frequently beyond its direct reach.

Schools, the economy and the traditional ways people grieve have all been upended due to the virus’ spread. Another indirect problem has been blood, and, more specifically, the amount of blood supply available at hospitals and medical clinics.

Across the country, blood supplies have been critically low as the threat of COVID-19 closed more than 600 blood drives, or about 18,000 blood donations across the country, according to a CNN report.

The smaller quantity of blood being pumped into hospitals has American Red Cross officials afraid. It even caused the Food and Drug Administration to make it easier for gay and bisexual men to donate blood, according to The New York Times.

“Our community continues to ask me how they can help. I would say please continue to give blood and plasma, and continue to practice social distancing. It’s making a huge difference.”Dr. Brian EvansSierra Nevada Memorial Hospital CEO/president

But a lack of sufficient blood supply has not been an issue in Nevada County, according to the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Vitalant, a blood donation clinic in the region.

“Fortunately, our blood supply at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is in good shape due in large part to our community, who has been graciously donating blood, and to our partner Vitalant, who has done a tremendous job keeping up with supply,” said Dr. Brian Evans, president and CEO of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. “Our community continues to ask me how they can help. I would say please continue to give blood and plasma, and continue to practice social distancing. It’s making a huge difference.”

Vicki Wolfe, Vitalant communications manager for the Sacramento Region, agreed.

“Right now we’ve had an incredible response from our community — not only from regular donors, but also people who haven’t donated in many, many years,” she said.

It’s important that people continue donating blood, said Wolfe, because blood components perish in about a month’s time. About three weeks ago, the blood supply began dwindling nationally, but in the northern California region the supply has remained at higher levels because people continue to donate.

Like Evans, Wolfe encouraged residents to keep donating, as it helps support people that have medical issues — like childbirth complications and massive trauma — unrelated to COVID-19.

“There are some things that can’t be canceled,” said Wolfe. “All those things continue with or without COVID-19.”

Nevada City resident Pinky Zalkin is one of those individuals who thought it important to donate blood during this time. She recently recalled her father noting the importance of donating, particularly during a disaster.

“I’ve always been aware of the need for blood,” she said.

Zalkin donated blood to the local Vitalant clinic in Grass Valley. She said the space was consistently cleaned, and that everyone in the building was tasked with keeping a significant distance from one another.

“The place is spotless,” she said. “It’s big. There are not a lot of people (in) there.”

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email, scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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