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Red Cross offers safe ways to donate blood during the pandemic

With the need for donated blood high, the Red Cross has implemented safety protocols to ensure both donors and personnel stay healthy.

FINDLAY, Ohio — January is National Blood Donor Month, as the need for blood donations is usually highest after the holidays.

Leaders with the Red Cross are making sure everyone who wants to donate can do it safely amid the current pandemic.

The North Central Ohio chapter of the Red Cross held a blood drive Tuesday at the University of Findlay.

According to executive director Todd James, there's a blood drive almost everyday in the region, as the need for donated blood has not slowed down during the pandemic. 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, a number of new protocols have been put in place to keep everyone at these blood drives safe.

First, you must schedule your donation appointment time in advance. Then, your temperature is checked at the door, and inside there is plenty of social distancing.

Sanitization has become made a premium, with all equipment, tables, and chairs wiped down regularly.

James said blood donations are essential to the medical industry, especially after the new year.

"Especially this time of year it's a challenge, we're just coming off of the holidays, people have traveled this time of year. And now with the pandemic, we have to make sure we meet the needs for our hospitals," he said.

James said his branch averages about 18,000 units of donated blood a year.

Credit: Jon Monk
The North Central chapter averages about 18,000 units of donated blood a year.

With the ongoing pandemic, there is also a growing need for blood or plasma donations from people who have already recovered from COVID.

"If you've gotten through COVID-19, you've survived it and you're doing okay now, you may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, which can help someone who is fighting it right now," James said.

If you need an extra incentive to give blood, those who donate during the month of Jan. will automatically be entered into a drawing to win tickets to next year's Super Bowl. 

To find the nearest, upcoming Red Cross blood drive, click here.

RELATED: How giving blood can send you to Super Bowl LIV