RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A series of blood drives will go ahead as planned this month in multiple locations throughout western Riverside County, with extra precautions to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus, a representatives from LifeStream Blood Bank said today.

The San Bernardino-based donation service has drives scheduled in five different cities, beginning Monday, according to LifeStream spokesman Don Escalante.

Escalante pointed out that blood drives are specifically exempt from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 19 executive order prohibiting many public activities as part of a statewide COVID-19 mitigation strategy.

The LifeStream spokesman noted that hospitals, clinics and other facilities rely on the blood bank for distribution of product throughout the Inland Empire and elsewhere.

“We are taking a number of precautions to maximize donor safety in the COVID-19 pandemic era,” he told City News Service, adding that it was an “unprecedented time” which has required a number of adjustments in how LifeStream operates.

He said staff are screening prospective donors, taking everyone’s temperature to detect fever, and if anyone has an elevated reading, they’re asked to return home. The 6-foot social distancing mandate is also being observed, with beds and chairs separated according to the state and county guidelines, and all equipment, storage areas and donor spaces are scrubbed down before, during and after drives.

Donations are being requested on the following dates and at the following locations:
— April 6-10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., San Jacinto Moose Lodge, 188 Main St.;
— April 7-8, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, 726 Beaumont Ave.;
— April 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Rancho Family Medical Group, 30420 Haun Road, Menifee;
— April 10-11, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Orange Terrace Park, 20010 Orange Terrace Parkway, Riverside;
— April 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Menifee Town Center, 30125 Antelope Road; and
— April 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sears, 2200 W. Florida Ave., Hemet.

More information is available by calling 800-879-4484.