Blood shortage prompts ‘urgent’ need for donors

The American Red Cross and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers have issued urgent appeals for blood donors. Area blood supplies are at emergency levels following a downturn in donations due to the holidays and winter weather.

In the Southern Blood Services Region, which covers Georgia and parts of Florida and South Carolina, 12 Red Cross blood drives were forced to cancel due to last week’s winter storm, says spokesperson Kristin Stancil. That caused nearly 250 donations to go uncollected.

LifeSouth is at an “emergency” level, which means there is less than a 2-day supply available to replenish hospital inventory, according to its spokesperson.

Dwindling supplies could put patients at risk. “If you’ve never donated before, now is the time,” says LifeSouth District Director Kim Edwards. “Please don’t wait for a trauma to occur, your donation is needed now.”

All blood types are needed, especially type O negative, which is the universal donor and can be used by all patients in an emergency. There’s also a critical need for B negative and platelet donors.

Area blood drives

The American Red Cross will have a bloodmobile at the Toccoa Walmart on Wednesday, January 10 from noon until 5 p.m. LifeSouth will have a bloodmobile at the Cleveland Walmart on Wednesday, January 10 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and at the Walmart in Cornelia on January 11 from noon-6 p.m.

The Red Cross has scheduled two other blood drives in Habersham in the coming weeks. One will be held at Piedmont College on January 17 from 12:30-5:30 p.m. The other will be held at North Georgia Technical College in Clarkesville on February 7 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Click here for a list of area LifeSouth blood drives.

Donors must be at least 17 or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is needed.

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Ethan Jordan of WNEG Radio contributed to this report

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