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COVID-19 affects blood supply; Marsh Regional issues urgent call for donations

Contributed To The Press • Updated Mar 18, 2020 at 8:05 PM

The following is a news release issued Wednesday from Ballad Health:

The continued spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and social distancing efforts is impacting blood donation supplies nationwide and the Appalachian Highlands is no exception.

As schools and local organizations close for several weeks, canceling planned blood drives, Marsh Regional Blood Center now faces the possibility that it will be unable to meet the needs of patients in this region.

“We need people to turn out in force and donate,” Don Campbell, director of Marsh Regional, said. “Nationally, blood drives are being canceled, and hospitals and health systems are in urgent need for donations. This could turn into an unprecedented blood shortage, unless our donors come out and give as soon as they can.

“If you’re healthy, feel well and haven’t been exposed to COVID-19, we need you to donate now,” Campbell said.

COVID-19 does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.

To help address the shortage, Marsh Regional has expanded its donor center hours to 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and on Saturdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The centers are located at 111 W. Stone Drive, Suite 300, Kingsport; 2428 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City; and 1996 W. State St., Bristol.

Additionally, everyone who makes a blood donation will receive a $10 Food City gift card.

“We’re always grateful for our loyal blood donors, and we always welcome new donors to our centers and blood drives,” Campbell said.

In addition to those centers, Marsh Regional will host drives at the following locations:

Thursday, March 19, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Lower Shell Creek Christian Church, Roan Mountain.

Thursday, March 19, 8:30 a.m.-noon, Blue Mountain Therapy, Abingdon, Virginia.

Friday, March 20, 8 a.m.-noon, Honda Kingsport, Kingsport.

Friday, March 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Dial America, Johnson City.

Friday, March 20, 1-4 p.m., Toyota of Kingsport, Kingsport.

Tuesday, March 24, 7-10:30 a.m., Crown Laboratories, Johnson City.

Wednesday, March 25, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Dentsply Sirona, Johnson City.

Wednesday, March 25, 3-7:15 p.m., Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Elizabethton.

Thursday, March 26, 1:30-4 p.m., Marion Mold & Tool, Marion, Virginia.

Friday, March 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., VFP Concrete Shelter Division, Duffield, Virginia.

Monday, March 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Mountain Mission School, Grundy, Virginia.

Tuesday, March 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital, Tazewell, Virginia.

Tuesday, March 31, noon-5 p.m. Home Shopping Network, Piney Flats.

Marsh Regional supplies blood to 28 regional medical facilities, all regional cancer centers and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. Healthcare facilities that rely on Marsh Regional for blood and blood products include: Bristol Regional Medical Center, Buchanan General Hospital, Clinch Valley Medical Center, Dickenson Community Hospital, Encompass Health, Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Greeneville Community Hospital East, Greeneville Community Hospital West, Hancock County Hospital, Hawkins County Memorial Hospital, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Holston Valley Medical Center, Indian Path Community Hospital, James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Johnson City Medical Center, Johnson County Community Hospital, Johnston Memorial Hospital, Lonesome Pine Hospital, Mountain View Regional Hospital, Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Norton Community Hospital, The Rehabilitation Hospital of Southwest Virginia, Russell County Hospital, Select Specialty Hospital, Smyth County Community Hospital, Sycamore Shoals Hospital, Tazewell Community Hospital and Unicoi County Hospital.

Donors with O-negative blood types are particularly welcome, as their blood can be used for any patient.

To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or who are taking antibiotics may not donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving blood.

For more information about blood donation, or to schedule a blood drive, please call 423-408-7500, 423-652-0014 or 276-679-4669 or visit www.marshblood.com.