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Looking for something to do to make a difference? If you are able, give blood, officials say.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 27, the city of Gainesville is hosting a Gainesville Area Emergency Blood Drive to help boost the local blood supply. It’ll take place in the south parking lot of the Gainesville Civic Center, 311 S. Weaver St., a city news release indicates.

“Donation is the best way a healthy person can contribute to COVID-19 preparedness both in our community and across the nation,” the release states.

Blood donors are routinely screened for temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin. If donors pass the mini health exam and have not donated blood in the previous 56 days, they may donate blood.

The blood drive benefits Carter BloodCare. In response to concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, a message was posted to Carter BloodCare’s website from its president and CEO, Dr. Merlyn Sayers. It says “blood donation remains safe.”

“While blood drives may bring together groups of people, they are not gatherings which encourage attendance of people who feel unwell,” Sayers’ message states. “We also follow [Food and Drug Administration]-regulated cleaning protocols to assure the safety of donors, our staff and the blood products.”

Those interested in donating can sign up online by visiting https://tinyurl.com/uw2jslq.

No more than eight people will be allowed on the Carter BloodCare bus at any given time, organizers said.

“Coronaviruses, which include agents such as SARS, MERS and the common cold, have never been spread by blood transfusion and there are no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19, which is also a coronavirus,” Sayers’ message to the public says.

Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Morgan Tobias is helping coordinate Friday’s blood drive.

Tobias said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused blood drives to be canceled. People are still having surgeries and blood transfusions and the need for blood has not gone away, she said.

“I’m very grateful that we have the ability to facilitate a more controlled blood drive so we can provide for those who are still need of blood and we can help save lives,” Tobias said. “ A lot of people have been wondering how they can help the community, and this is one simple, easy, safe way for you to do that.”

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. As of press time Tuesday, March 24, there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in Cooke County. There were 53,268 reported cases of COVID-19 nationwide and 696 reported deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. In Texas, there were 897 reported cases of the new coronavirus as of press time and 12 deaths, according to the university.

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