In response to a call for blood donations from the American Red Cross, Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory hosted a blood drive in North Logan on Monday, April 13. SDL employees donated 36 pints of blood.
“Last month, the Red Cross issued a plea in the face of a severe shortage of blood as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Red Cross, there hasn’t been a shortage of blood so severe since World War II,” said Stephanie Halton, SDL’s corporate conference and events administrator, who organized the blood drive. “Our employees recognized an opportunity to do their part to help the community in which they work and live. Since 1998, SDL employees have donated 777 pints of blood during 30 blood drives.”
As the coronavirus pandemic has spread in the United States, scheduled blood drives have been cancelled, creating the blood shortage. Approximately 30 blood drives in Northern Utah alone have been cancelled since March 9 due to amplified concerns about gathering in common areas. To address these concerns, the Red Cross implemented rigorous measures to ensure that the SDL blood drive was safe for both employee-donors and Red Cross staff.
Heightened safety measures included checking the temperature of employees who donated and Red Cross staff before they entered the drive. Hand sanitizer was used before entering and throughout the donation process and beds were spaced to comply with social distancing requirements. Both donors and Red Cross staff wore cloth face coverings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at all times during the donation procedure. Equipment was thoroughly sanitized with enhanced disinfectants between donors.
“After hearing about the current blood shortage, I learned that SDL was hosting a blood drive and quickly signed up for a donation time slot,” said Amanda Hansen, an SDL quality specialist. “It’s always gratifying to take part in an effort that will help those who need it most. This blood drive seemed especially important during a time when our nation, and our communities, face a historic pandemic that has caused a shortage of blood.”
SDL solves the technical challenges faced by the military, science community, and industry and supports NASA’s vision to reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. As one of 14 University Affiliated Research Centers, SDL serves as a subject matter expert in its core research areas to the US Government, ensuring that essential engineering and technology capabilities are maintained. SDL is a research laboratory headquartered in North Logan, UT, and has offices in Albuquerque, NM; Bedford, MA; Dayton, OH; Huntsville, AL; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Stafford, VA; and Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.sdl.usu.edu.