Need for blood donations in Central CA increases as summer approaches

The blood center needs every donation to keep up with the local demand from hospitals during this pandemic.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a little empty inside the Jenny Eller Donation Center in northwest Fresno.

"I come out every chance that I get. I've been donating for about 15 years," said Robert Johnson of Fresno.

The blood center needs every donation to keep up with the local demand from hospitals during this pandemic.

"Initially, we had a great turnout. A lot of folks came out. They understood the importance of a food strong blood supply in the midst of a pandemic, but as time goes on and fears of it peaking back up or resurfacing, folks are hesitant to donate, and we very much need them to do so," said Ersilia Lacaze, a blood center official.

The blood center says they've teamed up with local government agencies for a Valley United Blood drive.

They're also taking precautions to keep people safe while donating.

"We're limiting their number of bodies that come in, taking the temperature of anybody that comes in our donor centers, providing masks for staff and donors as well as you can see separating our chairs where only half of our chairs are in use. It allows us to have additional social distancing in place," Lacaze said.

"We are eager to get more donors in the doors. The challenge being if you have to be asymptotic for 28 days, a lot of folks are diagnosed more recently than that. We are hoping in the coming weeks as people continue to recover, there will be more of an interest for them to donate plasma," Lacaze added.

Residents from the north to the south Valley are welcome to donate. All types of blood are needed.

The Valley United Blood Drive runs from June 11 - July 17. Officials say every donation makes a life-saving difference.
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