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St. Joseph’s Hospital rep: All fall blood screenings canceled due to high COVID-19 numbers

BUCKHANNON – A representative from St. Joseph’s Hospital said the upcoming blood screenings were canceled due to a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Lisa Wharton, vice president of public relations, marketing and Foundation at St. Joseph’s Hospital said hosting the blood screenings wasn’t feasible because of limited staff and high COVID numbers during the Sept. 21 Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur meeting. 

“We had an incident command call yesterday and determined there was just too much COVID in Upshur County to safely move forward with the blood screenings, plus we’re short-staffed, so there’s an issue as well,” Wharton said. “We do hope to add them back once things get better and staffing gets back to normal.”

Wharton also thanked the Rotarians for their work during a blood drive that took place a week ago at the Event Center at Brushy Fork.

“I do want to thank everybody that helped out with the blood drive. We actually had more people donate than we anticipated and that was great because we have a critical blood shortage right now, so we were really glad we had a few people walk into the blood drive,” Wharton said. “Thank you for you guys stepping up to the plate because I know it’s really needed. I’d like to talk to the board during our next meeting and pick a couple more dates in 2022 for some blood drives because they are so badly needed.”

The blood screenings that were canceled included all dates in September, October and November. Rotary member Rich Clemens said it was unfortunate because so many people could have benefitted from the blood screenings.  

“We’ll be watching that closely, but of course, the COVID crisis has been a problem,” Clemens said. “We had 170 people signed up for this coming Saturday.”

According to a press released from St. Joseph’s, the hospital is at critical levels with COVID patients. Staffing is needed elsewhere in the hospital to ensure that it continues to provide care for those needing emergency and critical care.

“We hope to be able to resume the blood screenings in the future,” the release states, “but that will be contingent on the status of COVID and emergency operations.

Wharton told those hoping to reschedule appointments to monitor social media for future dates and means of making an appointment.

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