All blood donors at Medic Regional Blood Center mobile drives and donor centers will be seen by appointment only until further notice.

The new regulation is due to the coronavirus outbreak. It allows donors to follow the 6-feet distance recommendations, reduce wait times and allow donor flow to be smooth.

Medic provides blood and blood products to 25 hospitals in 22 regional counties, including Cumberland County and Cumberland Medical Center. The Crossville Donor Center is at 72 S. Main St. Call 865-524-3074 for details.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports there is no known risk of transmitting COVID-19 through the blood-donation process or from blood transfusions. The FDA also reports there is no intrinsic risk to the safety of the blood supply, but there is risk to the availability of blood for patients in need because of an increased number of canceled donation appointments and blood drives.

As a precaution to donors and collection staff, Medic is implementing the use of N95 masks so blood donations can continue during the COVID-19 situation. Staff, donors and visitors will undergo a daily check-in upon arrival at any facility or mobile drive. The check-in includes temperature check, answering questions about their health and if someone in their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Temperatures must be 99.5 or fewer degrees to continue. The screening will also include a visual check in which staff looks for cough, nasal drainage or if the potential donor has difficulty breathing. Potential donors will also be asked a series of questions, including whether they have traveled outside the country.

Medic will set up waiting areas separating donors so they are not sitting next to one another. In some instances, donors may be asked to wait in their car until staff is ready to screen them.

Medic Regional Blood Center reminds donors it is imperative that healthy individuals donate to minimize disruptions to the blood supply and ensure blood is available for patients. 

If the outbreak of coronavirus expands, additional challenges may arise, which could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors and disrupt collection events. Since it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive optimal treatment.

In early March, Medic reported critically low supplies of O-positive and O-negative blood types. The critical level means that there is less than a two-day supply of those blood types on the shelves. A low supply of A-positive, B-positive and B-negative blood types was also reported.

Medic reminds the public that blood on the shelves today is the blood used in disaster, trauma and surgery events. Blood collected via blood drives and at donor centers is always tested for various infectious diseases. 

Potential donors are reminded that Medic is not a health care provider and thus cannot test for COVID-19.

Visit medicblood.org or call 865-524-3074 for details.