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Blood Bank of Hawaii asking Oahu residents to keep donating

The Blood Bank of Hawaii is putting out a desperate call for donations during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the nonprofit has had to suspend all blood drives, including those on neighbor islands. But now, more than ever, it needs Oahu residents to step up and continue donating to ensure there is an adequate supply of blood for Hawaii hospitals.

The blood bank reassures Oahu resident that they may leave their homes under current “stay-at-home” orders to donate blood.

But due to the outbreak, donations will now be taken by appointment only. The bank also has set up new procedures to comply with social distancing requirements. For instance, appointments are spaced to ensure no more than 10 donors are at any center at a time. Donors also will be kept 6 or more feet away from each other at all stages of the donation process.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Kim-Anh Nguyen, president and CEO of Blood Bank of Hawaii. “We don’t know how long COVID-19 will last.”

She urged donors to step forward and donate in upcoming weeks and months.

In addition to the Young Street Donor Center, the nonprofit has reopened its Dillingham Street location and set up pop-up donation centers in Kailua, Kaneohe, Waikele, and at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Ewa Beach.

Before COVID-19, the blood bank had, on average, about 1,100 appointments for blood donations scheduled each week. On Friday, only about 230 appointments had been booked for the week, far short of the usual volume.

The blood bank said it is safe to donate blood and that it does not place donors at any increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

All donors must go through a screening process, which includes a temperature check. The blood bags and needles are sterile, and used only once. All donor beds are cleaned between each donation, and waiting areas are cleaned regularly.

If everyone pulls together in solidarity, Nguyen said she believes Hawaii can flatten the curve, but the blood bank needs donors to step up.

“Hawaii’s blood supply is walking around in the people of Hawaii,” said Nguyen. “If you count the number of people who are healthy and who can donate blood, we have enough to meet our needs — if only the people who are in this critical workforce report to duty when called.”

To schedule a donation appointment, visit bbh.org or call 848-4770.

DONATION SITES

>> Young Street Donor Center, 1907 Young St., 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday to Sunday.

NEW POP-UP SITES

>> Dillingham, 2043 Dillinham Blvd., 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-4;30 p.m. Friday to Sunday.

>> Kailua Town Center in partnership with Alexander & Baldwin (parking lot near Down to Earth), 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and 6:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

>> Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center in partnership with Alexander & Baldwin, 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

>> Waikele Center in partnership with American Assets, 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, and 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

>> Salvation Army Kroc Center Hawaii, 91-3257 Kualakai Parkway in Ewa Beach, 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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