The American Red Cross is calling on the public to help with blood donations after several annual blood drives were canceled due to COVID-19.
The group said they usually have 14-17 blood drives a day in Connecticut. But, the number has been cut in half and is the key reason why they're looking to the public for help.
"The need for blood never ends," said American Red Cross District Manger Kimberly Moreland. "We do have to remind people that we need donors every day."
Liz Smith is no stranger to donating blood. Smith said she's been doing it since she was 18 and is close to donating 13 gallons of blood in her lifetime.
"You can't do a whole lot right now, so I figured this was a good thing to do," said Smith. "If you have the ability to do it, it's both the right and good thing to do."
Connecticut's Red Cross chapter typically collects around 450-500 units a day; but, due to the coronavirus that number has dwindled.
"It's really important for people to donate because we've had many cancellations throughout the state over the last two weeks," said Moreland. "We need donations for the older population that might be suffering or for cancer patients, even accident victims."
The American Red Cross said it is practicing social distancing and following both state and federal guidelines to protect the donors.
"We've taken all kinds of precautions to make sure that our donors are healthy and safe as well as our staff," said Moreland.
The group is avoiding taking chances when it comes to the public's health and it starts before you enter the door.
"You are screened before you come into the door, we check your temperature," said Moreland. "If your temperature is too high, we ask that you come back another day."
Inside the blood drives, nurses clean off beds before and after each donor. Gloves are tossed in the trash after each person donates. The chairs are separated at least 6 feet while donors are waiting to give.
Rick Lemke made the decision to donate and belives the American Red Cross is practicing safety.
"The distancing was good and the staff was very professional," said Lemke. "Everybody should do it to help someone else who may be in need."
If you would like to donate, you click here to find your nearest donation location or you can call 1 (800) 733-2767.