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Blood banks across U.S. suffer from virus outbreak

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:51s - Published
Blood banks across U.S. suffer from virus outbreak

Blood banks across U.S. suffer from virus outbreak

Blood banks across the United States are suffering as Americans are avoiding donation sites and blood drives are being cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Gloria Tso reports.

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Severe blood shortages being reported across the United States as workers stay home and companies cancel their blood drives over coronavirus fears.

According to the Red Cross, coronavirus is not transmissable via blood transfusion.

But people are avoiding blood donation sites, and blood banks are concerned over what could happen to a variety of hospital patients.

Zoila Villata is a phlebotomist - a person who draws blood - in Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PHLEBOTOMIST, ZOILA VILLALTA, SAYING: It's extremely important, there are more cases, besides what's going on with the virus, accidents, organ transplants, people with cancer, people with immunology diseases that need blood and the bank is very low, very low, we need people to come out and donate." According to the American Association of Blood Banks, around half of the country's blood centers are reporting low inventory -- and could see shortages in as little as two weeks.

Roberto Torres from the American Red Cross is urging those in California to donate.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AMERICAN RED CROSS SPOKESPERSON, ROBERTO TORRES, SAYING: "Coronavirus is very pertinent to everybody out, not just here in California but all over the world.

So we're aware because we all want to make sure that people know that donating blood is very safe, even if people don't know if they have the virus or not, we have to check it to make sure your temperature is okay to donate, that you're safe to donate, that you're in good health." And in light of the outbreak, Villalta says her center is taking extra care to ensure people feel safe coming out to donate.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PHLEBOTOMIST, ZOILA VILLALTA, SAYING: "It's very safe, we really want people to come out.

We take people's temperatures; we clean everything that we use as you noticed.

Every time a donor gets off, we're cleaning the tables, we're cleaning our hands, changing our gloves, so we're taking all the precautions that we can."




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