Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama donates at the Central California Blood Center. Donation centers in Visalia and Fresno are extending hours through next week to meet urgent demand. Photo via CCBC
Written by Ben Hensley
Due to an existing shortage paired with a rush of local trauma cases, the Central California Blood Center has extended its donor center hours to better accommodate potential donors’ schedules with the hopes of driving up donations.
Starting this week through Sept. 3, the center’s hours of operation in Fresno will be extended to 7 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 25 and Sept. 1) and Friday (Aug. 26 and Sept. 2), and until 6 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 27 and Sept. 3).
The Visalia Donor Center plans to extend its hours on Thursday (Aug. 25 and Sept. 1) until 7 p.m. and Friday (Aug. 26 and Sept. 2) and Saturday (Aug. 27 and Sept. 3) until 5 p.m.
The recent shortage of donor blood is partly due to five massive transfusion protocol patients, including several related to motor vehicle accidents and gunshot wounds.
The extended hours are also to combat a seasonal trend of summer seeing a decrease in donations.
“Summer typically is a tough time for us in general to collect blood,” said CCBC Marketing and Communication Manager Gordon Halstead. “Summer months obviously come with travel.”
Halstead attributed that travel to an increase in car accidents and increased trauma, requiring more blood donations.
While all blood types are accepted, the center is specifically searching for donors with the universal Type O blood.
Emergency pop-up locations have also been established intermittently, with the last event at Community Regional Medical Center on Aug. 19.
Health screenings and temperature checks are still being conducted at the center’s donation sites, though masks are not required.
“If you have had COVID, we ask that you be symptom free for ten days,” Halstead said. “If you’ve been exposed to COVID, we ask that you wait 14 days to come out and donate.”
A list of all available donation sites can be found on the CCBC’s website.