Senator CollinsCHICAGO – With the state’s blood supply declining rapidly in light of blood drive cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) called on healthy, eligible African-Americans in Illinois to step up and donate blood when they can.

“The Black community is in particular need of this help, especially in light of the prevalence of diseases like sickle cell anemia among African-Americans,” Collins said.

Sickle cell patients are at particularly high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection. Patients with sickle cell disease depend on transfusions from donors with closely matched blood – beyond the A, B, O and AB types – to reduce the risk of complications.

According to the American Red Cross, each donation center is required to follow 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 ensure the health of all those in attendance.

Red Cross blood centers have seen donations by African-Americans drop by more than 50% since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in March.

“The most vulnerable members of our community need our help,” Collins said. “If you are healthy and able, please step up and help fill this need.”

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.