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Billings blood banks say they're losing donors from coronavirus

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Posted at 5:06 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 00:24:41-04

BILLINGS — Billings blood banks said Monday they are experiencing a decrease in donors amid coronavirus concerns.

Erin Baker, donor recruitment manager at Vitalant Blood in Billings, says the company has had to cancel 15 mobile drives resulting in the loss of almost 280 donors.

Amid concerns for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Baker wants the Billings community to understand that donating blood is safe.

“All of the equipment we use is sterilized and single use,” says Baker.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Montana have now reached seven (one person was diagnosed out of state in Maryland) but people are still encouraged to donate blood.

There is a low risk of transmitting COVID-19 through blood, said Baker but it is important to avoid giving blood if you currently do not feel well.

The lack of donations since the coronavirus started has affected patient care, especially cancer patients. Baker said that cancer patients rely on these transfusions, because they are essential when going through chemotherapy.

For more information on becoming a blood donor and to schedule an appointment, visit Vitalant.org or call Vitalant at (877) 258-4825.

The site bloodhero.com is a place to type a zip code to find the nearest place to donate.