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Tidelands Health Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet on March 16, 2020. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Tidelands Health is partnering with the American Red Cross to hold a blood drive to help replenish a shortage in supply due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The blood drive is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday at Tidelands Health Conference Center, 4367 Riverwood Drive in Murrells Inlet, according to a press release.

Tidelands Health officials encourage healthy people to donate.

“Our community members always come through to help during challenging times,” said Adam Mattox, director of laboratory services at Tidelands Health, in the release. “We know we can count on them to donate blood to help make sure our health system has the supply we need as we continue providing necessary health care to a variety of conditions and emergencies amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage as an unprecedented number of blood drives have been canceled because of the pandemic, the release states.

Throughout the United States, almost 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled recently, resulting in 86,000 less blood donations, according to the American Red Cross.

Tidelands Health hasn’t experienced a critical shortage of blood supply because of the national decline but has carried out strategies to safeguard its supply, according to the release. The health system encourages community members to donate to help ensure the supply doesn’t reach a critical point.

“Many of us want to do what we can to help our neighbors and community amid this pandemic,” Mattox said. “Donating blood is one way you can help.”

Blood drive organizers are taking additional steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Donors will have their temperatures taken when they arrive, and those with a temperature of 99.5 degrees or higher won’t be allowed to donate.

Anyone who feels sick or is experiencing symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath should stay home and consider donating when they’re well.

Organizers will frequently disinfect surfaces and provide hand sanitizer for donors and volunteers to use.

Blood drive workers will practice social distancing when interacting with others and provide additional space between donors.

Blood donors must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old. Those who want to donate should bring a valid ID.

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