Blood donations still needed

OKEECHOBEE — As area residents deal with fears about the COVID-19 pandemic, another medical emergency is on the horizon. Florida blood banks could face a shortage of donated blood.

“A big thank you goes out to all who have responded to the urgent plea to donate blood,” said Raye Deusinger, local blood drive coordinator. “Stocks are down at blood banks across the country. One Blood, the bank that serves Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, reports extreme shortages. The faithful donors of Okeechobee have always responded in an effort to save lives.

“Donating on the bus is completely safe as One Blood continues to follow and implement national and local guidelines to protect the health and personal safety of its donors,” she said. “Blood platelets are always in short supply and one of the remaining drives this month includes a platelet opportunity.”

Blood drives are planned in Okeechobee:
• Thursday, March 26, Ancient Oaks RV Resort, 6407 U.S. 441,10 a.m. 3:30 p.m.
• Thursday, March 26, Silver Palm RV Resort, 4143 U.S. 441, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• Friday, March 27, Starlite RV Park, 60 SE 30th Lane, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Friday, March 27, Okeechobee Walmart, 2101 S. Parrott Ave., 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
• Saturday, March 28, Okeechobee Walmart, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Saturday, March 28, Okeechobee Walmart, Platelets drive, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Sunday, March 29, Okeechobee Walmart, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood,” said Peter Marks, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

“We need people to prevent the blood supply from getting depleted. We need it not to get to the point that surgeries are having to get canceled. That’s something we absolutely do not want to have happen. To ensure an adequate blood supply, we need people to come out and donate blood,” said Dr. Marks.

The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.

“It is safe to donate blood,” said Adm. Brett P. Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients who need it,” said Dr. Giroir.

Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for patients at all times.

The FDA has reiterated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood transfusions.

About OneBlood
OneBlood is a not-for-profit blood center responsible for providing safe, available and affordable blood to more than 250 hospital partners and their patients throughout Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Generally healthy people age 16 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood. To learn more about OneBlood, visit

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