Blood banks facing critical need during pandemic

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – Because of COVID-19 related safety measures, Vitalant had to cancel hundreds of blood drives since early March — resulting in more than 9,000 uncollected blood donations, just in South Dakota, North Dakota and western Minnesota.

Blood drives are starting to be held again. Vitalant senior donor recruiter Abbie Arneson says surgeries and other medical procedures are resuming as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, causing a critical need to replenish the blood supply.

Arneson says they’ve adjusted the blood donation process to ensure maximum safety.

She says once inside, social distancing recommendations are followed.


Arneson says all blood types are critically needed right now, especially for platelets, type O, A-negative and B-negative red blood cells. In the Dakotas and western Minnesota, Vitalant must collect a minimum of 250 blood donations each day to meet patients’ transfusion needs.