An employee of the Wuhan Blood Center donates blood on Monday in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Wednesday. Blood donation sites reopened in the city on the day. (Photo: China Daily)
All 12 blood donation spots around the Wuhan, the city hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, reopened on Monday after more than two months' suspension due to the lockdown of the city. Some 250 citizens have donated more than 70,000 milliliters of blood in just three days, but the blood reserves are still in short supply.
"We only raised half the volume compared with the same period last year," said Zhou Zhihua, Party chief of the Wuhan Blood Center. "As more and more hospitals start receiving normal patients, the blood demand will accelerate quickly.
"One of the most important things people can do right now during this public health emergency is to donate blood. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible."
Experts warned that the clinical use of blood may reach its peak in the next two months due to the surge of non-novel coronavirus operations and a shortage of donors. Healthy people are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.
According to Zhou, the current blood reserve is only sufficient for 10 days of clinical use.
"If the blood demand increases rapidly, the blood reserve may even decrease to one week of availability," Zhou said.
In order to attract more blood donations, Zhou, along with more than 60 staff at the center and their families, held a blood drive on Wednesday.
"We fought against the novel coronavirus together, and now we must take care of one another including those who are most vulnerable among us in hospitals," Zhou said.
Zhu Min, a 26-year-old resident who donated during the event, said: "I can't help too many people, but I can try my best to do what I can do."
The center has taken measures to protect the health of donors and staff, including checking body temperatures, providing hand sanitizer, following social distancing practices and enhancing disinfection of surfaces and equipment.
Blood collection staff are also required to adhere to thorough safety protocols, including wearing gloves, to help prevent the spread of any type of infection.
Zhou said that all collected blood would undergo nucleic acid testing for the novel coronavirus as well as antibody tests before being used, even though there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion.