To replenish blood supplies that have been affected by COVID-19, Marsh Regional Blood Center has resumed its community-wide blood drives and is holding a four-day blood drive event in honor of World Blood Donor Day, scheduled for June 11-14.
Even as the Appalachian Highlands continues its reopening efforts, physical distancing guidelines and the closure of schools and other local organizations have significantly impacted the region’s blood supplies, Marsh officials said.
“Our communities and nation are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, and that includes our blood supplies,” said Don Campbell, director of Marsh Regional. “But the same selflessness and mindfulness that helped protect our friends, families and neighbors from COVID-19 will come through once again, with members of our communities stepping up to donate blood and save lives — and that’s what we’re celebrating with World Blood Donor Day.
“For Marsh Regional’s supplies to fully recover, we need everyone who is eligible to give blood to come out in force and donate.”
As many as three lives can be saved each time someone donates blood — and donations to Marsh Regional stay local to help people in this region.
The World Blood Donor Day drives will be held at Marsh Regional’s collection centers: 111 W. Stone Drive, Suite 300, Kingsport; 2428 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City; and 1996 W. State St., Bristol. To encourage physical distancing, Marsh Regional will vary its hours of availability:
• Thursday, June 11: 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport collection centers)
• Friday, June 12: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport collection centers)
• Saturday, June 13: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Kingsport collection center)
• Sunday, June 14: Noon-4 p.m. (Kingsport collection center)
All donors who give during the World Blood Donor Day event will receive a special-edition T-shirt. Additionally, for a limited time, everyone who gives blood with Marsh Regional will receive a $10 Food City gift card.
“The event is meant to recognize those folks who give the gift of life and help save lives locally here at the hospitals we serve. We invite folks who’ve donated last year, donated this year or might be thinking about donating at some point to come out and join us,” Campbell said.
Campbell also said it’s never too late to become a first-time donor, and he encouraged newcomers to participate in this worthwhile activity.
COVID-19 does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.
Marsh Regional continues to take appropriate measures to keep donors safe, as well as extra disinfection and sanitization efforts.
All donors are required to wear a cloth face covering, such as homemade mask, bandana or buff.
Blood donation centers always take steps to prevent team members and donors who are not feeling well or who have a fever from reaching the donor area, and they are now taking additional physical distancing precautions wherever possible.
Donors will receive individualized directions to maintain proper physical distancing measures, including a new requirement for donors to make an appointment before giving at any of its collection centers and many of its mobile drives. Donors may be asked to wait in their cars until it’s their turn to give.
Marsh Regional supplies blood to 28 regional medical facilities, all regional cancer centers and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.
To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or who are taking antibiotics may not donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving blood.
An appointment is required before giving blood at any blood center – donors should call (423) 408-7500, (423) 652-0014 or (423) 282-7090 or visit www.marshblood.com for more information about appointments or to schedule a blood drive at a local business, church, school or community organization.
At Ballad Health, you are #SafeWithUs.
All Ballad Health facilities are taking crucial safety precautions, including enhanced physical distancing measures, increased infection control and new processes and systems to safeguard patients’ care journeys.