OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Senate joined the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) on Thursday to host a blood drive for Senate members and staffers aiming to alleviate the shortage of blood caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, was one of 30 Senate and staff members who donated blood at the drive, which received enough donations to impact 90 lives.
“There’s a critical need for blood in our state, so there’s no better time to get out of our comfort zones and help our fellow Oklahomans needing blood donations,” Brooks said. “I know giving blood isn’t something we think about in our daily lives, but given all the different circumstances going on right now, I think it’s essential that all of us contribute as much as we can to help each other, and this is one way to do that.”
Throughout April and May, two-thirds of OBI sponsored blood drives were cancelled due to virus precautions and social distancing measures. The reduced volume in drives has taken a toll on hospital and medical facility blood reserves, which depend on 1,200 donations per day to be considered fully stocked.
“We’ve seen a major decrease over the last few months in blood drives, and although they are picking back up, we are still in need of partners and organizations to host drives to help combat the shortage we are currently experiencing,” said Heather Browne, OBI marketing and media manager. “We are very appreciative of the governor, Senate and House of Representatives in joining us to donate blood, spread the word through social media and host drives.”
State Senators Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, and Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, have each organized a series of blood drives within their districts in conjunction with the OBI to encourage Oklahomans to donate blood, and Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, has donated convalescent plasma since recovering from COVID-19, which is used to help seriously ill patients recover from the virus.
To learn more about donating blood or hosting a drive, please visit www.obi.org.
CUTLINE: State Senator Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, donates blood on the Oklahoma Blood Institute’s mobile blood bus during a drive held at the State Capitol.