American Red Cross and medical professionals across the state are desperate to resolve the current critical blood supply shortage in light of the coronavirus. To assist, the Berkeley Heights YMCA, in partner with the American Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive on Saturday, June 6 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Berkeley Heights YMCA. Click here to schedule time.

The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the evolving situation regarding the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While there is no evidence that this coronavirus or any respiratory illness can be transmitted through a blood transfusion, out of the abundance of caution, we are taking actions to help ensure the safety of our donors, recipients, volunteers, staff and the blood supply.

SAFETY FIRST 
We understand why people may be hesitant to come out for a blood drive, but blood donation is a safe process, and people should not hesitate to give and receive blood. At each blood drive, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols. In addition to our standard procedures, you will notice the following at your local blood drive: 

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Pre-Donation Donor Temperature Screening 
• All donors will be asked to have their temperature taken before being permitted into the blood drive. 
• If a donor has a temperature greater than 99.5°F they will be asked to come back to donate when they are healthy and will be asked to leave the drive. 

Enhanced Disinfecting 
• Hand sanitizer will be available at check-in, health history and refreshment areas. 
• Blood donors will be asked to use hand sanitizer prior to using tablets and laptops. 
• Donors beds will be sanitized between every donor. 

Social Distancing 
• Implementation of separated drive set up to allow as much distance as possible between donors.

Blood Supply Protection
The Red Cross uses safety measures to protect the blood supply from all respiratory viruses including COVID-19. 

The Red Cross is asking that individuals postpone their donation for 28 days following: 
• Travel to China, Hong Kong, Macau, as Iran, Italy and South Korea
• Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus.

• In addition to the travel deferral, the health history screening also helps to protect the blood supply. 
• Blood is only collected from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. 
• Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
• Call back number, to connect with trained donor counselors, is provided if donor develops any symptoms of illness within the days following donation. Donations from such donors are immediately quarantined and not used.

For detailed donor eligibility questions, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.

Staff Wellness and Protection
• All staff and volunteer members will have a temperature check before presenting to work, and they've been asked not to come to work if they are feeling sick. 
• Staff will wear gloves throughout entire blood drive, changing gloves between every donor. 

Increased Educational Materials
• Donor educational materials on COVID-19. 
• Stop sign at entrances to avert ineligible donors from presenting.

About the Summit Area YMCA  
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.