Thank you Orcas | Letter

I want to say a special thanks to the people that came out for the blood drive on March 18. Thanks to you we were close to our normal numbers. At 4 p.m. we had 81 people register and 78 were able to give blood. Thanks to those 81 people who stepped up to put a dent in the blood shortage.

There were some negative comments going around about the drive and I present the following to hopefully kill those rumors and bring back some common sense to our hectic times.

“Government health agencies have echoed this. Not only is it safe to donate blood right now — the FDA has said there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus — but it’s also crucial.

“Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply,” said Brett P. Giroir, assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, last week.

“It is safe to donate blood … healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it,” he said.

Red Cross blood donation centers have taken several steps to ensure that donating blood is as safe an experience as possible.

Staff members’ temperatures are taken daily, and donors also have their temperature taken before they enter the Red Cross facilities. To comply with social distancing measures, appointments are made so that fewer donors are in the facilities together, and once inside, the beds are spaced out to ensure limited donor interaction.

A bigger thank you to the Bloodworks crew that insured the drive was safe and sane and all the above guidelines were followed. In addition, there were special rules implemented to ensure no one over 60 or under s16 were allowed to volunteer their time to assist in the drive. This put an additional burden on the Bloodworks crew for registration and canteen duties. Hats off to the Bloodworks crew and to Dana for stepping up in true Lions fashion. A thank you to Jim at the Orcas Fire Department and Dimitri of Orcas Center for making the relocation effortless and accommodating Bloodworks’ needs.

It is anticipated that there will still be pent up demand for blood and I urge everyone that can do so to donate. The next drive is scheduled for June 17, and hopefully we will be closer to a normal life. I was able to see how much smoother it went when people had made appointments and would encourage anyone willing to donate blood to schedule your appointment with Bloodworks at 1-800-398-7888.

Again, thanks to Orcas for meeting the demand and showing the world what community is about.

Jim Biddick

Orcas Island Lions Club