Senator JonesCHICAGO – Blood drives across the state have been cancelled to prevent the spread of COVID-19, prompting State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) to put out a call for African American blood donations to help treat sickle cell patients.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s blood supply has gotten dangerously low, which means sickle cell patients may not be able to get life-saving transfusions,” Jones said. “African American communities have already been suffering from limited resources during the pandemic—they need support from their neighbors now more than ever. I encourage everyone to lend a hand to address this shortage.”

African American blood donors play an important role in the treatment of sickle cell disease. Patients with the disease depend on transfusions from donors with closely matched blood—beyond just blood type—to reduce the risk of complications.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross says donations by African Americans have dropped by more than half. As sickle cell patients are at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19 infection, donations are especially important at this time.

The Red Cross assures donors that each donation center must follow the highest standards of safety and infection control. Additional precautions, including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff, have been implemented to ensure the health of everyone in attendance.

Many blood centers throughout the state have extended their operating hours to meet the critical need for donations.

To make an appointment to donate blood with the Red Cross, residents can visit or call 800-733-2767.