Blood drive

A STBTC blood drive sits boasting the words 'Donate Blood Save Lives' on the rear end of the truck while sitting in the parking lot of the TLU alumni center on July 30, 2019.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is seeking donors to lend a hand and give a pint to help build up its supply.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed every day life, blood is still needed at local hospitals, so the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is hosting a special blood drive to help keep the shelves stocked.

The blood drive is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, March, 26 and Friday, March 27, at the Seguin Events Complex in Midway Hall, 728 Midway.

The drive is a change-up to the formula of how they are typically held, forgoing the trucks for an indoor setting, GenCure communications specialist Ashley Frolick said.

“We need to have spaces that allow for social distancing, that’s why we are doing it at Midway Hall,” Frolick said. “The need for blood never stops, and so with all our mobile drives being canceled, we’re moving towards this format instead so that we can still encourage the community to come and donate.”

The STBTC will section off the building to allow for proper safety measures to be taken, Frolick said.

“We’ll have a donor room where all the beds are at a pretty good distance for social distancing,” she said. “We’ve also set up a waiting area where the chairs are also at social distancing distance. So it’s really to protect and to continue taking these precautions to make sure that we can safely get blood and that people can safely give blood.”

The STBTC serves hospitals within nearly 50 counties in South Texas and has a goal of gathering enough blood through its drives to serve those hospitals for up to 15 to 20 days, Frolick said.

“In order to serve those hospitals, we have to have the supply and not knowing what’s going to happen this week or next week we’re really trying to build up a supply so we can be prepared,” she said.

Those wanting to donate must make an appointment, Frolick said.

“It’s to allow for social distancing and to manage the flow and avoid any crowing,” she said. “ We’re not doing any walk-ins, and if someone doesn’t show up for their appointment without telling us first, then that appointment doesn’t get filled. We’re asking donors if they slot an appointment to please come, and if they cancel, they can call us to let us know so we can open that slot for another donor.”

Donating blood is a safe process and produces no risk of contracting the coronavirus, Frolick said.

“What we know is that coronavirus is not transmitted by blood or blood transfusions. So blood donation itself is still a safe activity,” she said. “Of course, everything we use is sterilized, and our usual protocols include a mini-physical before you donate, and on top of that, we’re taking precautions such as sanitizing donor beds and taking the temperature of everyone who comes into a facility. So we are taking extra sanitation measures on top of what we usually do.”

To set up an appointment for donation, call the STBTC at 210-731-5590.

Joe Martin is a staff reporter with the Seguin Gazette. He can be reached at joe.martin@seguingazette.com

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