A little over a year ago, Vicente García began donating blood regularly, after he learned from friends about the benefit it was for the community.
"It is something that helps people," said the 33-year-old Mexican. "And I like to know that I can be of service to someone."
He said that on March 21 he had his appointment to donate platelets at the UCLA hospital. By then, the coronavirus pandemic had already spread throughout Los Angeles County and orders to stay home had already been implemented.
He confesses that for a moment he questioned whether or not to make his donation and finally decided to go ahead.
"(I hesitated) because I know that if you have low defenses, the virus can give you more, but since I already had the appointment, I was encouraged to go," said García.
Upon arriving at the hospital, he said he had seen the organization and security for donors.
"They make you wait six feet apart (from someone else), they check your temperature and ask if you have gone to other countries, such as China," he said. "Then they give you the hand sanitizer and take the pressure before going to make the donation."
The Guanajuato native stressed that in these moments of crisis it is important to remember that there are also other patients who need blood on a daily basis and that is why it is important to continue donating.
It is estimated that in the US, with a population of 327 million inhabitants, only 3% donate blood. The American Red Cross encourages people who during this difficult time do not stop making appointments for the next few weeks to ensure a stable supply during this pandemic.
To find Red Cross centers near your home visit: rcblood.org/3dPBCMR
YMCA and Red Cross team up
Juan de la Cruz, second vice president of the YMCA-LA, said that when the coronavirus outbreak began, the American Red Cross had to cancel many donation events. However, this did not minimize the need for the precious liquid.
For this reason, the two entities came together to help resolve today's severe blood shortage.
"We know that about 1,000 quarts of blood are needed daily," De la Cruz explained. "We are incorporating solutions with the help of our more than 20 Los Angeles County YMCA centers."
The YMCA-LA is providing facilities for blood donations made by the Red Cross, which began on Tuesday, March 31 and will take place throughout April at different centers.
Both organizations are promoting the events on their social networks.
Organizations also work together to practice safe social distancing protocols in accordance with all Los Angeles Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulations.
De la Cruz assured that, fortunately, since they started they have had regular donors who fill the almost 10 chairs they have at the YMCA centers to give their blood donation.
"What helps us is that we have a large gym and we can promote social distance in a safe way," he added.
A call to Latinos
De la Cruz said that fewer Latino donor participants have been seen and estimated that one reason may be the lack of information.
"Perhaps they do not believe that right now it may be an opportunity to donate blood, but the blood is used to (help) in all diseases," he said. "We need more effort in the Latino community."
Of course, people who have symptoms of the flu, cold or some other disease; In addition to those with low iron, they take certain medications, and those who have traveled outside the country recently may have some complications in donating blood.
The American Red Cross recommends that you wait at least 28 days to donate if you have any of these symptoms.
Likewise, although there have been no reported cases in the world of any respiratory virus, including COVID-19, that can be transmitted through a blood transfusion, the Red Cross has implemented new postponements of blood donation as a precaution, he indicated. Christine Welch, spokesperson for the American Red Cross.
New measures of the Red Cross: use of gloves and masks, disinfect equipment and areas on a regular basis, take the temperature of donors, among others.
The following YMCA donation events will be:
April 9, 16, 23 and 30 at the Westchester Family YMCA Westchester from 9:00 a.m. at 3:00 p.m.
April 10 and 24 at South Pasadena / San Marino YMCA from 10:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m.
April 6, 13 and 20 at Downey Family YMCA from 10:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m.
April 6, 13 and 20 at Wilmington YMCA from 9:00 a.m. at 3:00 p.m.
April 7 and 21 at Montebello-Commerce in Montebello 10:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m.
April 7 at the West Valley Family YMCA in Reseda from 10:00 a.m. at 4:00 pm.
April 8 at Weingart YMCA Wellness &
Aquatic Center in South Los Angeles from 10:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m.
April 9 at the Mid Valley Family YMCA in Van Nuys from 10:00 a.m. at 4:00 pm.
To find out if you are eligible to donate visit: rcblood.org/2wcVGYv