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Since March of last year, Baptist Health Blood Bank has not been able to have blood drives due to COVID-19.

Cheryl Orten, donor recruiter for the blood bank, said their numbers are down as a result.

“We definitely need people to come donate because that is our only means of getting blood,” said Orten.

All donations are done by appointment only to control the number of people in the space at a time, she said. The blood bank is continuing to use the Lions Club facility as base for taking donations.

The blood donations are used by Baptist Health Madisonville to give to patients during surgeries, child birth and other situations.

Once someone makes an appointment to donate blood, they will show up at their appointed time and a nurse will meet them outside to check their temperature, said Orten. The blood donor will then enter the building and get registered.

They will answer a series of questions and have a mini-physical, checking blood pressure pulse and a hemoglobin check, to make sure they are healthy enough to donate blood, she said. Each unit of blood will be tested for several different diseases including HIV 1 and 2, Hepatitis B and C, Zika and West Nile.

Orten said the entire process takes about an hour and there are crackers, cookies, juice and soda available for those that donate if needed.

Appointments are scheduled to reduce contact between donors.

“We keep it staggered pretty well,” said Orten. “We can have two in there at a time because we have four beds set up and they are socially distanced.”

Accommodations for those with children can be made if staff knows prior to the appointment, she said.

Appointments can be made from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Donors do get a free Baptist Health Blood Bank T-shirt for donating blood.

To schedule an appointment, call 270-825-5150. The Lions Club facility is located at 505 Hospital Drive, across from the CVS and before you reach the hospital.

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