Lifesaving CPR, blood donation still urged, needed during pandemic

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 11:02 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - From performing CPR to giving blood, there are a lot of ways a person can save a life when an emergency arises, but in an era of social distancing and COVID-19, some may be hesitant to help out.

Health experts claim they need people to pitch in now more than ever and they can do it safely.

That’s the case when it comes to Kentucky’s blood supply.

“Initially, when COVID hit, we had lots of what we call crisis donors come out in record numbers,” Mandy Brajuha, Vice President of External Relations at the Kentucky Blood Center, said. “At the same time, hospitals stopped doing elective surgery.”

But now that’s changed.

The Kentucky Blood Center supplies 70 hospitals across the state. Brajuha said a comfortable blood supply level would last for at least three days. Right now, she said they’ve only got a half day’s supply.

“We’re having to get creative,” she said. “Blood mobiles are not super effective right now because we can’t push as many people through one of those at the same time.”

Donations are down and high school blood drives, a large portion of fall donations, have decreased by 98 percent.

“We want to have an abundant amount of every blood type,” Brajuha said. “So, that we are never having to make hard decisions at the last minute.”

Currently, Brajuha said blood distributors might have to limit hospital orders or move blood from different parts of the state to make up for the shortage.

It’s the skill of pandemic adaptation those promoting CPR understand themselves.

“I just don’t want people to be afraid of doing CPR (amid) COVID,” Teresa Browning, the Director of the Structural Heart Program at UofL Health Jewish, said. “Now, more than ever, you’re going to have more people that you know go down and you need to be prepared to act.”

Browning said that’s because people are spending more time at home with family members.

She still encourages helping out others, too.

“I think the ‘hands-only’ is going to help during this time of COVID,” Browning said.

That’s a version of CPR that doesn’t require giving breaths, but still saves lives.

“Once a person is without circulation or without breath, you only have moments to intervene before they have permanent damage,” she added.

The American Heart Association recently updated its CPR guidance.

It now includes instructions on how to approach an opioid overdose situation as well as how to be attentive to recovery after an event that required CPR.

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