With local, state and federal leaders urging Americans to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, blood supplies are being depleted. Hoping to combat the shortage, the United Way of Lamar County, the American Red Cross and the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to host an appointment-only blood drive later this month.
The organizations have chosen Love Civic Center as their venue, and donors are urged to schedule their appointment now because the April 22 event will be canceled unless there are a minimum of 30 donations. To sign up, visit redcrossblood.org and enter 75460 or call 800-733-2767.
“There’s been a pretty significant blood shortage nationwide,” said Christal Prince, executive director for the Northeast Texas region of the Red Cross. “A lot of blood drives have been canceled. So, the Red Cross is trying to initiate blood drives in the area.”
Organizers said social distancing standards will be implemented during the drive, and Love Civic Center is large enough to accommodate that. No walk-ins will be allowed, and only donors may be in the building with drive staff. Family members and friends who wish to join donors may wait outside.
“With everyone having an appointment, we are able to space out people to stay safe,” said Jenny Wilson, executive director of United Way of Lamar County.
“We hate to do that, but at the same time we have everyone’s health to take into account,” Prince added.
Hand sanitizers will be given to every donor when they enter the Love Civic Center. There will be up to eight donors allowed in at one time. Each donor will be screened in a separate area before donating. The screening will include temperature checks, and if someone has a temperature of 99.5 or higher, they will not be allowed to donate.
Don’t want to wait until April 22? Carter BloodCare maintains a brick-and-mortar blood donation center in Paris at 3305 NE Loop 286, Suite E. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. A calendar of scheduled appointments is available at CarterBloodCare.org. To schedule an appointment, call 903-785-9399.