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Locals encourage others to donate blood

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LA CRESCENT, Minn. (WXOW) - Another service feeling the impact of the social distancing rules and travel restrictions are blood drives.

Cheryl Olson, a woman who tells News 19 she frequently donates blood, said she had given blood countless times, but can see how it can be scary for some, especially first-timers.

"I'm afraid of needles, I don't like getting poked either, but it is just worth it," Olson said. "I believe donating blood is my opportunity to give back to the community. I think it just a way we show each other we are community and how we can help each other."

American Red Cross staff said that the need has not stopped during this COVID-19 pandemic. Many patients in the hospital need blood for various treatments like blood transfusions, or cancer.

According to the American Red Cross, anybody who is 16 years and older and weighs 110 pounds or more is eligible to donate.

Blake Mathiason works for the American Red Cross. He said it has been comforting to see so many come out to donate blood on Thursday.

"On a day like Thursday, it shows that communities are strong and willing to help out," Mathiason said. "We have had a lot of canceled drives lately in communities, and communities have stepped up and found different locations to host those drives at."

According to the American Red Cross, each year, 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood, and approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed in the United States every day.

Stephen Mau, a man who donated blood on Thursday, said the community needs to come together more than ever during this pandemic.

"The fact that we have this global COVID-19 virus, it is extremely important for people to step up and donate blood for other various reasons," Mau said.

The American Red Cross tells News 19 they follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

The American Red Cross states that all donated blood is sent to a lab where it undergoes many different tests. Those tests check for viruses before it goes to health care facilities.

Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford is a multi-media journalist.

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