With no known end date to the coronavirus fight, the American Red Cross is encouraging healthy individuals to make appointments to donate blood or platelets to ensure blood remains readily available for patients who still rely on transfusions.

The need for blood for trauma patients, children battling cancer, mothers experiencing childbirth complications, patients with sickle cell disease and others continues. Donated blood has a limited shelf life of 42 days for red cells and just five days for platelets, so the supply must constantly be replenished.

Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate this May by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to safeguard donors, volunteers and employees.