LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2020) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many states across the nation are seeing their blood donations hit critically low numbers. Since March the Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) has had more than 450 blood drives cancel. They estimate that is a loss of more than 9,500 donations. In addition, while many drives have been able to continue, the number of donors at the drives has decreased or has been limited due to social distancing recommendations. They are hopeful holding drives on the University of Kentucky campus will help combat shortages.
The "Back to School" blood drives at UK are scheduled for the week of Aug. 31 through Sept. 4. All donors will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card and will be entered into the KBC’s summer giveaway drawing for one of two $500 Visa gift cards being awarded weekly this summer. There are two locations on campus to give blood:
- Joe Craft Center Ticket Lobby (Off Lexington Avenue)
10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Lewis Honors College
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
As hospitals face the dip in donations, they are now transfusing blood at a rate at or above where they were before the pandemic hit. UK HealthCare transfuses about 35,000 units of blood per year. It is used throughout various areas in addition to the emergency department and helps patients enduring all different kinds of medical needs. Thankfully, UK HealthCare’s blood bank supply is no longer considered critically low, however they are still in need of more donations.
“Blood transfusion is one of the oldest and most important medical therapies,” said trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Bernard. “And there is no substitute for human blood. If you need blood, and blood is not available, nothing else can save you.”
KBC officials say the summer months are always a particularly hard time for blood collections and this summer certainly has been no exception. The drives planned for the UK campus are also very important to boost the blood supply going into a holiday weekend.
“While many things are different this academic year, the need for blood donors is greater than ever before,” said Mandy Brajuha, vice president of external relations for KBC. “We are proud of our partnership with the university and rely heavily on the support given by staff, faculty and students when we come to campus each year. We hope in a time where things may not be ‘normal,’ our supporters at UK will still roll up their sleeves and make a positive impact with a lifesaving gift for a local patient.”
Appointments to donate are encouraged to help with social distancing. You can sign up by clicking here. Donors can also complete their health history questions online to minimize the time spent at the event. Face coverings are required.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.