Amid Coronavirus Concerns, the San Angelo Blood Bank Seeks Donors


SAN ANGELO, TX – Blood saves lives and having an adequate blood supply in local blood banks can be a matter of life and death. In San Angelo, Vitalant, formerly known as the United Blood Services, is the sole provider of blood and blood components, such as red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, to eight hospitals in the area. 

Low blood supply can mark the difference between saving a life in many of these regional hospitals. During the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Midland last year, San Angelo was delivering much-needed blood and components within an hour of the patients being hospitalized.

But none of that would be possible without the community coming together to make sure the local bank stays well-stocked at all times. Banks across the nation aim to maintain a 3-day supply of all blood types at all times, but today in San Angelo that number is closer to a one-day supply or even half a day supply.

As the United States and the rest of the world continues to monitor the surge of the Coronavirus, blood banks want to remind potential donors that giving blood is safe for most donors. Having adequate storage of blood can ensure hospitals can treat patients if the virus were to infect more Americans.

“If the Coronavirus does begin to spread, the last thing hospitals need to worry about is the blood supply for their patients,” said Linda Grace, Donor Recruitment Supervisor at Vitalant.

Vitalant is monitored by the FDA and they follow strict sanitation guidelines that ensure donors remain safe during their visit. Instruments used to withdraw blood and components are sterile and are of one-time use. Most importantly giving blood does not affect a donor’s immune system.

Donors who have traveled to mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea may be asked to refrain from donating blood for at least 28 days, as a precautionary method.

These are the basic requirements needed to donate blood:

  • Must be at least 16 years old (16- and 17-year-olds must bring a signed permission form from a parent or guardian if required by state or school).
  • They must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.
  • Having high pressure or high cholesterol, or taking medication isn’t an automatic disqualifier.
  • All blood is tested before being drawn.
  • Tattoos are not a disqualifier from donating blood.

Vitalant will be hosting a blood drive at Community Medical Center on Tuesday, March 10 at the conference room next to the chapel, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Donors may donate blood every 56 days or every 8 weeks. Each blood component has a different shelf life and time required between donations. For more information visit the Vitalant website or give them a call at (325) 223-7500. Vitalant is located at 2020 W Beauregard Ave.

Vitalant is open at the following days:

  • Mon: 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Tue: 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Wed: 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM
  • Thu: 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Fri: 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM
  • Sat: 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM
  • Sun: Closed

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