red bank ymca blood drive 032420No walk-ins will be allowed at the blood drive. Below, an American Red Cross letter addresses safety concerns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

American Red Cross COVID-19.jpgA blood drive employing “extreme precautions” is scheduled for Thursday in Red Bank to help address a shortage worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A ‘drop & go” food drive will be held at the same time.

According to a news report, the American Red Cross is facing a “severe” blood shortage due to the curtailment of collection drives normally held in workplaces and schools.

Nearly 3,000 blood drives had to be canceled across the country this month due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in at least 86,000 fewer blood donations, according to the report Wednesday by WPTA21 in Indiana.

The drive is slated to run from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m, at the YMCA at 166 Maple Avenue. No walk-ins will be allowed, according to a posting on the Greater YMCA of Monmouth County website. Participants should register here and use the sponsor code ‘Red Bank YMCA.’

In keeping with an order by Governor Phil Murphy, the facility is otherwise closed, but the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies consider blood drives to be essential activities, which are permitted.

There have been no reports of any respiratory virus, including the COVID-19 coronavirus, being transmitted via donated blood, according to a letter from the American Red Cross (above right; click to enlarge).

Donors and Red Cross staffers will be checked to ensure their body temperatures are at or below 99.5 degrees Fahreneheit, and other precautionary measures will be employed, according to the letter.

Simultaneously, the Y plans to conduct a curbside food drive to benefit Fulfill, Lunch Break and other local food pantries.

Particularly needed are white pasta, oatmeal packets, canned soup, canned vegetables, canned tuna and peanut butter.