Houchin blood banks running low on blood donation due to the coronavirus

Caleb Melson, Reporter

  Houchin Blood Bank stated that there is a severe and dangerous blood shortage in Kern County in a press conference on March 17. 

Houchin’s CEO, Brad Bryan, said Houchin has seen a 50-80% decline in blood donations since the outbreak of the new coronavirus.  Bryan added that the biggest hit came from the cancellation of nearly all of their mobile blood drives. 

“The number of cancer patients, trauma patients, burn patients, those don’t change when corona virus comes in and affects our communities,” Bryan said.  

Bryan described Houchin’s current inventory of B-positive and B-negative blood as “in the negative.  

Houchin has been forced to ship B-positive and B-negative blood in from other blood banks in the country.  Bryan does not doubt that if donations do not increase soon, they will have to do the same with other blood types. 

Bryan urged anyone who is healthy to “help save a life by donating blood.” 

 “If you’re feeling ill don’t come in, but if you’re feeling well bring a friend,” Bryan said. 

Houchin’s Director of Community Relations Susan Bowser said, “For anyone who finds themselves off work or school due to cancelations caused by the virus, make your way into one of our donation centers. 

Bryan assured all those concerned that Houchin’s donation centers are a “very sterile environment” and that there is “no risk of contracting the coronavirus from the blood donation process itself. 

Bryan also noted the safe and clean play areas and snacks they provide the children of donors.  He suggested that any parent who finds themselves at home with their children can take a much-needed break and save a life in the process. 

Both Bryan and Bowser stressed how thorough Houchin’s pre-donation health screenings are.  They check vitals, medical history, past donations, and anything else that could be a factor  

Houchin’s regular hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Thursday, when the blood bank is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.