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American Red Cross reports blood shortages

13 January 2018

The recent severe winter weather also impacted Red Cross blood and platelet donation drives.

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Erie News Now stopped by to get an update on the critical need that was announced last week.

"Blood is always needed, especially during this time, because of the severity of draws being closed, and also due to the fact of the donors being sick", he explained.

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This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December. The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply, and now Red Cross blood products are being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations come in.

Illinois Valley Community College instructor and Red Cross volunteer Steve Swett said, "Donors can save up to 15 minutes during the donation process by registering through RapidPass to select their appointment time and fill out health history questions".

The timing is critical and the need is clear.

In general, blood providers such as Marsh Regional Blood Center, the region's largest supplier of blood, try to obtain at least 100 units of blood each day.

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The Red Cross, which collects 40 percent of the country's blood supply, is always accepting donations at its blood center on Forest Avenue in Portland and has a series of blood donation events set up across the state, including events later this month in Yarmouth, Windham, Buxton, Westbrook, Portland, South Portland, Standish and Gorham, as well as the annual blood drive at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland, set for February 8 from 1 to 7 p.m.

1 in 4 people who enter the hospital actually need a blood transfusion and many patients need blood on a regular basis.

Eligible donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation, where available. The U.P. Regional Blood Center is one of the many places asking for donations.

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American Red Cross reports blood shortages