TOMAH, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Health care providers in Tomah say with COVID-19 cases on the rise, they are in desperate need more than ever for blood donations.
First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff explains how you can help during a two-day blood drive taking place this week.
The nation has been dealing with a shortage of blood since the start of the pandemic, and the same rings true in Wisconsin.
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is trying to alleviate the burden in the Tomah community through regularly scheduled drives.
“We are the local blood supplier for Tomah Health, so we do have blood drives here every 56 days, two-day blood drives,” Account Representative Emalea Cogdill said.
Cogdill adds that drives are normally held at Tomah Health, but COVID protocols have forced a relocation to Tomah’s Recreation Park.
Versiti says mobile blood collections are down more than 16,000 units in Wisconsin this year, with many of the reasons why circling back to the pandemic.
“At the beginning, a lot of donors were not leaving their homes to go and donate blood,” Cogdill explained. “Most recently, we’ve been faced with a struggle to maintain our blood supply because people have become vaccinated, so they finally have the opportunity to leave their homes, but blood donation is not the first thing on their list.”
Versiti is the sole supplier of blood for nearly 50 hospitals in the state, which need to utilize blood on a consistent basis.
“One out of every seven people that enter a hospital will need blood, so it is immense that we make sure we have a stable blood supply,” Cogdill said. “It is precious, it cannot be replicated, the only way we can collect blood for our hospitals is through a blood drive.”
This month’s blood drive will run from noon until 5 PM on Thursday, and Cogdill says there are still plenty of open slots for people to come and donate.
A person must be at least 17-years-old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health to donate blood.
Anyone interested can register for a donation time here.
The next blood drive at the Tomah Recreation Park will take place on November 17th and 18th.