Volunteer, donation-based organizations take hit due to virus spread
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The American Red Cross is facing a shortage in blood donations amid the COVID-19 outbreak, both locally and nationwide.
Nationally, the American Red Cross, which supplies 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, has seen almost 50,000 fewer donations amid the outbreak.
The Red Cross Blood Center located in Bend’s Old Mill District is experiencing canceled blood drives, and the number of donors has fallen dramatically.
The executive director in Central and Eastern Oregon Nadine McCrindle, told NewsChannel 21 on Monday of the added precautions in place. They’re checking the temperatures of both staff and donors before allowing anyone into the donation center.
Social distancing is being practiced at all sites, and they’ve set up a variety of sanitizing stations.
McCrindle said the lack of blood donors can ultimately affect the operation of hospitals in the long run.
“What that means is that hospitals that desperately need blood to treat cancer patients, that need them for trauma surgeries or even just elective surgeries– its starting to get scary for them, in terms of available blood products to continue doing the work they need to do for them and their patients,” McCrindle said.
So far, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through blood transfusions. The Red Cross is still encouraging you to donate by signing up at https://www.redcrossblood.org/.
The Bethlehem Inn homeless and emergency shelter in Bend is also experiencing a shortage of supplies for its guests. It’s especially in need of warm gloves, ice melts, sanitation goods, toilet paper and wipes.
This is one of the facility’s busiest times of year, and with the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s important that they are well-equipped to help the guests in need.
To help improve hygienic practices, more hand-washing stations have been set up at the inn and they are following recommended U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for shelters.
Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwenn Wysling said Monday they’re hoping the public helps them pull through this challenging time.
“We’re being assured that the supply chain is working as quickly as it can,” Wysling said. “So we’re looking to the goodness of our community to continue its support, in hopes that things will be fulfilled shortly. We’re on waitlists, so it’s been a little bit of an unsettling time for everyone, and we’re trying to make sure we are not joining in the panic.”
NeighborImpact is keeping local shelters open a bit longer, but they’re need of supplies as well.
Now is a transition period for NeighborImpact, as they’re trying to issue tarps and tents to those in need.
The executive director of NeighborImpact, Scott Cooper, said outdoor camping is probably most beneficial right now, to eliminate being in close proximity with other people.
“Working together, we can all get through this,” Cooper said. “I would ask people to be compassionate, especially as we are having to see people with more tents popping up in places. Homeless people have to self-isolate, landlords have to be able to get their rents on times, mortgages on time. All that is going to be important in days ahead.”
NeighborImpact is asking for donations of winter clothing, bus passes, winter boots, and propane tanks. In addition to supplies, they’re asking for more volunteers to help at different centers.