A blood drive doesn’t immediately spring to mind during a pandemic but its value is immense, said Lou Zimmerman of American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Paducah.

Donations have hit a lull despite the service they provide for organ transplants, accident victims, and cancer and surgery patients.

“First it was bad weather, then it was flu season and now it’s COVID-19,” Zimmerman said. “This is more important than ever because we’re in the midst of such a severe shortage.”

But area residents can soon help overcome that shortage. Local blood drives are scheduled for: 1-6 p.m. March 30 at Fredonia First Baptist Church, 208 Cassidy St., Fredonia; and noon-6 p.m. April 2 at Calvary Baptist Church, 121 Kentucky Ave. in Princeton.

There’s also a drive Friday at the Lyon County Courthouse, 500 W. Dale St. in Eddyville, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Blood donated will supply six western Kentucky hospitals — including Caldwell County Hospital and Jennie Stuart Medical Center — and three air ambulances in the region.

Each drive will have donor education materials on COVID-19, sanitizer and checks to stop those ineligible.

Zimmer said that includes people with temperatures higher than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit and who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea within 28 days. The drive will also be organized in a way that encourages social distancing.

“Each bed will also be sanitized between donors in addition to these protocols,” he said. “We’re following all CDC guidelines.”

Donors can make an appointment by calling the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767. They can also visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter “Fredonia” or “Princeton” to make an appointment.