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Arizona Blood Banks Seeing Shortages As The Coronavirus Fears Increase

Arizona’s blood banks are seeing shortages as coronavirus fears continue to rise. More than 100 blood drives and donor appointments have been canceled in recent days. 

Dr. Ralph Vassallo is with Vitalant Blood Services. He says there’s no reason to cancel blood drives — they’re not mass gatherings, and the risk of virus spread is low. 

"The protocols we’re employing include wearing gloves and protective gear, we wipe down high-touch areas often and after every collection, we use sterile collection sets for every donation, and arm scrub for 30 seconds," Vassallo said.

The coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets, and the risk of spreading the virus through blood is minimal. 

"Like other respiratory viruses, coronavirus is not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, so blood centers are not testing for coronavirus," he said.

Blood centers always check potential donors for symptoms of any infection and turn away anybody who is actively sick.

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease 

Scott Bourque was a reporter and podcast producer at KJZZ from 2019 to 2022.