Annual blood drive goes on despite COVID-19

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COLUMBIA - Every year, Thomas holds a blood drive for her daughter and this year didn't change anything.

Blood is still needed even during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Red Cross.

Beverley Thomas' daughter was a Columbia Police Department officer that died in uniform after a traffic stopped turned violent.

“The night she was shot – they took 14 pints of blood and so they – this is a way we can give back to the community," Thomas said.

Thomas has held a blood drive for the past 13 years to honor her daughter.

“We just like to give back to the community," she said.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross said the turnout exceeded their expectations.

Everyone stayed 6-feet apart, and volunteers sanitized everything to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We are practicing social distancing at blood drives everywhere we can," Craig Jackson, Red Cross spokesperson said. "We are trying to keep everyone 6 feet apart at all times – if they are waiting to donate if they are on a bed or if they are waiting at the canteens.”

The Red Cross is complying with the CDC guidleines, Jackson said.

“It’s kind of a high risk for the community to come out but the community always gives," Thomas said.

The Red Cross asks for anyone participating in a blood drive to sign up ahead of time.