Athletics facility offers well-known location, space for safe social distancing
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Patients need blood even during a pandemic, so the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics’ DeGowin Blood Center is still actively taking donations for its patients and those in UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

But rather than collecting donor blood from satellite locations around Eastern Iowa, they will have a single location at Carver-Hawkeye Arena offering multiple blood drives a week.

“In April and May, we often have blood drives in schools, community centers or other buildings on campus that are closed now,” says Kerry DuBay, donor center supervisor. “But we’re discovering that people still really want to donate blood even in the current situation.”

Dates that DeGowin Blood Center will collect blood at Carver-Hawkeye Arena:

Thursday, April 30, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 5, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday, May 7, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday, May 14, noon to 6 p.m.
Friday, May 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday, May 18, 1 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 19, 1 to 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wednesday, May 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday, May 29, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Appointments are required and can be made on the center’s website or by calling 319-356-2058. Enter through the arena’s north gate. Park in Lot 46; parking is free in non-metered spots.

The DeGowin Blood Center’s central location at 200 Hawkins Drive will continue to accept donations during its regular hours. Appointments are required and can be made on the center’s website or by calling 319-356-2058.

So, they decided to look closer to home for a single location where donors can give blood in a space that allows safe social distancing. The ­University of Iowa Department of Athletics stepped up, offering space in the Feller Club Room of Carver-Hawkeye Arena that is not otherwise being used.

“Times like this are when the university community comes together even tighter, so we were happy to arrange for the DeGowin Blood Center to use Carver-Hawkeye Arena for its very important, life-saving work,” says Gary Barta, University of Iowa Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair.

“They’ve been very accommodating with providing us space and allowing us to make that our new home for a while,” DuBay says.

The arena offers several advantages, she says, including close proximity to the hospital, easy access to parking, and plenty of space so chairs can be placed far enough apart that donors and technicians maintain safe social distancing.

DuBay doesn’t think consolidating into a single location will deter blood donors who live away from the Iowa City area from visiting.

“Blood donors are passionate, dedicated people, and we know that plenty of them will be willing to drive a few extra miles to give,” she says, adding that about 25 or 30 donors typically give blood every day at satellite locations.

While blood demand has dropped recently after the postponing of most non-emergency surgeries and elective procedures, DuBay says the hospital still needs an ample supply. Emergency patients with severe blood loss from traumatic accidents, for instance, or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy still need it. And the hospital will need to have stocks on-hand when the pandemic fades and other procedures start up again.

DuBay says technicians will screen donors when they enter for symptoms of cold or flu, as well as COVID-19. Those who have had cold or flu symptoms in the last five days are asked to donate at another time.

She says technicians will wear face shields as well as their usual protective equipment while working with donors.