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El Paso faces blood shortage as donations plummet due to virus worries

Blood donor chairs sit empty in El Paso.

EL PASO, Texas -- Blood donations in El Paso have come to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus outbreak. Vitalant Blood Services has had to cancel 54 blood drives across the city, losing out on roughly 2,000 potential donations.

"It's a very scary situation, the fear of Coronavirus has had a very negative impact on the blood supply nationally and locally I have been in blood bank for over 20 years and I have never seen it like this," said David Veloz, Vitalant's senior director of donor recruitment.

RELATED STORY: Blood donors urgently needed nationwide to avert shortage

The cautions residents are taking due to the outbreak have served to slow the spread of the virus, however it has also hurt the nonprofit blood supply organization. Many donors have now canceled their appointments with Vitalant and that could really hurt the blood supply in the city.

"If the situation does not change pretty quickly we are going to have a pretty severe blood shortage locally," Veloz said.

It is important to note, the blood bank will be running temperature checks on donors, as well as screening them during this time by way of a questionnaire regarding their travel history. The blood bank is only looking for healthy donors, and is urging those with a recent travel history to stay home and donate after two weeks.

Those wishing to make a life-saving donation can make an appointment with Vitalent by following this link.

El Paso / News / Top Stories / Video

JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.


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