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The need is great for blood in Southwest Florida amid pandemic

Across the country, COVID-19 fears have created a crisis when it comes to our blood supply.

Thousands of blood drives have been canceled, and some donors have been afraid to come out, but Friday, the Greater Naples YMCA hosted a blood drive.

Organizers say there was a good turnout from people supporting their community.

David Hansen takes the coronavirus threat seriously and says he has stayed home to do his part to stop the virus from spreading, but today he drove out to the YMCA.

He said, “We have to do whatever we can to help donate in any way we can in this COVID-19 dilemma that we’re in.”

He added that he wasn’t concerned for his safety, “Right now, the crowd’s not very much at all, but everybody seems to be practicing the social distancing.”

However, it is a concern that has canceled thousands of blood drives and held donors back all across the country.

Danny Soto, with the Greater Naples YMCA says hosting this drive provided an opportunity for the “Y” to give back, even though the pandemic has shut it down as well.

He said, “Almost 1,900 cancellations. So, if you can imagine how much blood they haven’t been able to produce, it’s important that we do come out, donate blood, and do our part to help fill that need.”

Everyone wore masks, they enforced social distancing on and off the bus, and donation beds were cleaned after each use – and those efforts calmed concerns.

“It’s been very successful,” Soto explained. “We’ve had over 30 reservations prior to starting today, and we’ve also had several walk-ins. And given the times that we’re facing and the time that we’re in right now, it’s a big boost.”

If you didn’t make it out today, there are several blood drives going on across Southwest Florida all weekend.

Find a blood donation location near you by going to oneblood.org.


Upcoming donation events

Saturday, May 9:

  • Publix – Gladiolus Gateway, 11600 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers 33908
  • North Fort Myers Nazarene – 6781 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers 33917
  • Walmart Neighborhood Market – 2020 NE Pine Island Road, Cape Coral 33909

Sunday, May 10:

  • Bealls Outlet – 3306 Bonita Beach Road SW, Bonita Beach 34134
  • Save-A-Lot – 1215 Homestaed Road, Lehigh Acres 33936
  • Walmart Neighborhood Market – 9131 College Parkway, 33919
Reporter:Veronica Marshall
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