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Ipswich blood donors needed amid coronavirus concerns

Red Cross Lifeblood are calling for donations amid the coronavirus emergency

Healthy Ipswich residents are being urged to donate blood amid the coronavirus emergency to prevent a potential shortage of blood supplies.

More than 14,000 donors are needed across Australia over the coming weeks to bolster supplies ahead of the busy Easter period and the annual cold and flu season.

Lifeblood chief executive Sally Park said the coronavirus outbreak puts the nation’s blood supply under pressure.

“Blood is needed every day by Australian patients including road trauma patients, surgical patients, medical and orthopaedic patients, pregnant mums and cancer patients,” she said.

“As we all know, there is no substitute for blood. It is a critical resource, and right now, we need more people booking appointments to donate.

“Last minute cancellations are putting a dent in blood stocks at a time when donors are in urgent need.

“To ensure there is a sufficient blood supply, we are appealing to donors to keep their appointments if they are well and health and are inviting new donors or those who haven’t donated for a while to come forward and help us.”

Lifeblood is urging healthy people to fill empty chairs as last minute cancellations put a dent in blood stocks

Ms Park said there is no evidence coronavirus is transmittable by blood transfusion.

“The organisation has robust processes in place to ensure the safety of the blood supply and our donors, and we don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood,” she said.

“Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that stays the case.”

Lifeblood said their donor centres are safe places to visit

Lifeblood’s media and communications manager Belinda Smetioukh said the health and wellbeing of donors was a top priority at the Ipswich Donor Centre.

“We have always adhered to strict sanitation protocols including wearing gloves, wiping down surfaces after every donation and using single-use sterile collection kits for every donation,” she said.

“However we now have a number of additional measures protecting our donors and our teams including, increased disinfecting of frequently used items, restricted non-donating visitors to our centre and ceasing the use of handgrips for donors to squeeze while donating.

“All donor centres have a 28-day postponement for donors returning from any overseas country, as well as any donors who have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

“If you have the coronavirus yourself you will not be able to donate for three months after your recovery.

“Previously, people with a mild runny nose with no fever have been allowed to donate plasma. However, we have recently changed this and anyone with minor cold-like symptoms will be deferred until they are recovered.” 

The Ipswich Lifeblood Donor Centre is located at the Riverlink Medical Centre on level 1, 2 Lowry Street in North Ipswich. You can book an appointment online or by calling 13 14 95.

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