Week-long blood drive to be held in effort to build blood supply amid coronavirus concerns

Venue allows for proper social distancing; donors required to make appointments to manage flow and avoid crowding
March 21, 2020

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC), Alzafar Shriners, and South Texas Spine & Surgical Hospital are hosting a community blood drive in an effort to build a 15-20 day blood supply amid coronavirus concerns.

The drive will be at the San Antonio Shrine Auditorium, in north San Antonio near the intersection of Loop 1604 and Highway 281, from Monday, March 23 to Friday, March 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

The San Antonio Shrine Auditorium allows for the recommended social distancing between donor beds and in waiting areas.

The drive – and donations at all South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor rooms – are by appointment only to manage flow and avoid crowding. Donors can make an appointment at SouthTexasBlood.org/GiveSA or by calling 210-731-5590.

“It is our hospital’s responsibility to surpass the management of the coronavirus crisis; therefore, continuing operations as-is will not suffice,” said Angie M. Kauffman, RN, MSN, MBA, NE-BC, chief executive officer of South Texas Spine & Surgical Hospital. “We still felt much more could be done, so in light of our area’s critical blood shortage, we have partnered with STBTC and Alzafar Shriners to host this extremely important blood drive. As a community, we will persevere and rise above our current situation.”

All donors will receive an H-E-B gift card and Wash Tub car wash voucher, plus another e-gift card of their choice from the new STBTC Donor Store. Selections include GrubHub, Hulu and Amazon.com.

On March 14, Mayor Ron Nirenberg designated blood donation as an “essential city function.” He noted that blood donation is a safe action people can take at a time when many feel powerless.

Hundreds of donors from South Texas gave blood last week to help avoid the collapse of the blood supply, as over 150 drives were canceled.

Donor room locations and hours are listed here.

In a time of great uncertainty, one thing is certain – the need for blood donations never slows down. The need for blood donations continues, as transfusions are necessary every day for surgery patients, accident victims, new moms and their babies, and cancer patients. The need is especially acute for new donors and those with type-O blood.

The U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration this week asked the public to continue to give blood, which is considered an essential activity.

In addition to social distancing, STBTC, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, is taking numerous precautions to keep donors safe, including additional sanitation measures and temperature checks of potential donors and staff as they enter facilities. All donors undergo a mini-physical, and they are asked about recent travel and other potential exposure to COVID-19.

Donations can also be made to the Alzafar Hospital Transportation Fund, which helps families and patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children with transportation, lodging, and meals.