As hospitals resume elective surgeries, more blood donations are needed from the community for patient care.
Bloodworks Northwest is teaming up with local community partners to host a pop-up blood donation center in Hillsboro through May 28 at Coyote's Bar & Grill, located at 5301 W. Baseline Road.
The nonprofit serves patients at hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
"When the coronavirus hit, donors in the community stepped up immediately," said Curt Bailey, president and chief executive officer of Bloodworks Northwest. "As we start the challenging road to recovery, patients need them even more."
Bailey added that hospitals and healthcare providers in the region are preparing to tackle a significant backlog of surgeries, medical treatments and procedures that require transfusions.
"Mounting requests from hospitals are outpacing current levels," he said. "We cannot afford to restart these and other treatments without being utterly certain the blood will be there and steadily available over the coming days and months — only the community can close the gap."
With stay-at-home orders, online learning at many schools, and social distancing to discourage public and faith-based gatherings, the nonprofit says the usual setting for mobile food drives that account for up to 60% of collections just isn't there anymore.
"The sacrifices necessary for a safe and healthy community have been felt and shared by everyone," Bailey noted. "After conserving the blood supply in recent weeks, we must rebuild inventory to a higher, (more) resilient level that propels the community toward a safe (and) sustainable recovery."
The community blood supply supports patients receiving trauma care, undergoing surgeries, cancer treatment, organ transplants, plus new moms and neonatal care. Bloodworks says all types of blood are urgently needed, but type O is especially in demand.
"Bloodworks has implemented some creative new approaches to blood collection," said Vicki Finson, executive vice president of blood services. "With donor support, we can make the most … to restore the blood supply for people who've been patiently awaiting their turn. … Only by boosting current collections and calling on donors to book appointments can we meet the critical need hospitals have identified for the weeks ahead."
The nonprofit added that the blood components in greatest demand are perishable, just like milk. Platelets have a shelf-life of only five days. Red blood cells can be stored up to 42 days.
"Now more than ever, the act of donating blood is a way for people to look after their families, friends, co-workers and neighbors," Bailey said. "When it comes to a safe and resilient blood supply, let's be the community that leads the nation."
People can visit the new pop-up blood donation center in Hillsboro from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Appointments are required to donate blood, and no guests or people under the age of 16 are permitted on-site to support safe social distancing and minimize wait time.
Donors are encouraged to wear masks to their appointments.
Bloodworks says volunteers routinely sanitize donation areas, chairs, surfaces, and common objects such as doorknobs and light switches. Staff, donors and volunteers are advised to stay home if they feel unwell.
For more information about donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic, visit bloodworksnw.org/coronavirus.
The donation process takes about an hour from registration to post-donation refreshment.
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