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WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Public Library still plans to hold its Friends of the Library blood drive as scheduled on April 25, as blood drives do not classify as “non-essential” activities.

The American Red Cross published a release on March 20 from the organization’s Chief Medical Officer Pampee Young.

In the release, Young said ARC continues to monitor and adapt to the evolving situation of COVID-19.

“As organizations limit all ‘non-essential activity,’ your blood drive is an essential activity, as outlined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Young said in the release.

Videos addressing the urgent need for blood collection during the current outbreak of COVID-19 can be accessed on their Vimeo page vimeo.com/americanredcross.

A statement below a video titled “Blood Industry Joins Together During Coronavirus Challenges” posted by the American Red Cross, features the following call to action.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood.” That urgent call-to-action coming from Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from wanting to donate blood.

During the past week, blood centers throughout the country are experiencing a significant drop in donations which is limiting the ability for the nation’s blood supply to be adequately replenished. In March, they have joined to reach out to the public for help.

According to Young, there have been no reported cases of any respiratory virus, including COVID-19, being transmitted by blood. Therefore, donating blood is a safe process.

ARC always employs its workers through safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, Young said.

In response to COVID-19, they have implemented the following additional precautionary methods, according to the release.

All donors are temperature-screened before being permitted into the blood drive. If bodily temperature is above 99.5°F, the donor is asked to donate another time instead.

All Red Cross staff are asked to check their temperature before presenting to work, and will not to report for work if they are showing any symptoms or have a temperature above 99.5 degrees.

Blood donors are asked to use hand sanitizer before and during the donation process.

Staff wear gloves throughout the donation process, changing gloves between every donor.

Donor beds are sanitized between every donor.

ARC implements medically-recommended space between donors wherever possible.

Building drive locations are especially helpful in facilitating social distancing.

Each day they assess the need and opportunity to enhance our precaution and will always put the safety of volunteer partners and staff first.

“Need never stops. Our commitment is tested every year with unexpected weather and illness events — it is during this time that we must hold tighter to our humanity and protect the most vulnerable among us,” Young said in the release.

Additional updates and other information can be found by visiting RedCross.org.

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