UPDATE: Alamodome Blood Drive extended through Friday
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has teamed up with the City of San Antonio to hold a special community blood drive at the Alamodome this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
The Alamodome was selected because it allows for the recommended social distancing between donor beds and in waiting areas.
The drive – and starting this week, 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 SouthTexasBood.org/GiveSA or by calling 210-731-5590.
All donors will receive either a Valero or a Target gift card, plus another of their choice from the new STBTC Donor Store. Selections include GrubHub, Hulu and Amazon.com.
On Saturday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg designated blood donation as an “essential city function.”
With virtually all blood drives canceled because of fears of the new coronavirus, it is imperative that individual donors make an appointment and give at the Alamodome or at one of the STBTC donor rooms. Donor room locations and hours are listed at SouthTexasBloog.org/give-now/locations-hours.
In a time of great uncertainty, one thing is certain – the need for blood donations never slows down. An additional 600 donations per day are needed, as transfusions still are necessary 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.
As the supply of blood shrinks, hospitals across South Texas already have begun to postpone elective surgeries.
The mayor noted that blood donation is a safe action people can take at a time when many feel powerless.
Free parking for the drive will be available in Lot A, which is just south of the Alamodome. Donors can enter via the University Heath System entrance at the southwest corner of the dome, and there will be a greeter there to direct them.
In addition to social distancing, STBTC, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, is taking numerous precautions to keep donors safe, including taking the temperature of potential donors and staff members as they enter donor rooms and the Alamodome drive. All donors undergo a mini physical, which includes a temperature, pulse and blood pressure check, and they are asked about recent travel to areas of community incidences of COVID-19.
Coronavirus concerns have led to declines in blood donations that have resulted in a national emergency. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and the U.S. Military Defense Agency made an urgent appeal for the public to donate blood.
Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, reiterated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood.