COVINGTON — Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.
About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available — and less than a two-day supply of type O blood — for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.
“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments.”
In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors — especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years – to give blood or platelets during the summer months. Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O — letters that make up the main blood groups — disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages.
Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed, 726 fewer here in the Southern Blood Services Region, and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.
“Blood is only available when generous blood and platelet donors roll up a sleeve to give, and right now, all donors — especially those who have never given or haven’t given in a while — are urged to make an appointment to give today,” said Numark.
Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history are requested to reduce the time it takes to donate.
Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
Upcoming local blood donation opportunities are as follows.
♦ July 16, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Southern Crescent Technical College, 300 Lakemont Drive;
♦ July 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Piedmont Henry, 1133 Eagles Landing Park;
♦ July 23, 2 to 7 p.m., McDonough Presbyterian Church, 427 McGarity Road;
♦ July 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Henry County Sheriff’s Department, 120 Henry Parkway;
♦ July 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Henry County Police, 108 S. Zack Hinton Parkway;
♦ July 30, 3 to 7 p.m., Sam’s Club McDonough 4804, 1765 Jonesboro Road;
♦ July 31, 2 to 7 p.m., Union United Methodist Church, 4600 Ga. Highway 138 SW; and
♦ Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wesley Way United Methodist Church, 150 John Wesley Way.
♦ July 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Piedmont Newton Hospital, 5126 Hospital Drive;
♦ July 12, 2 to 7 p.m., The Church At Covington, 11975 Hwy 142 North;
♦ July 23, 2 to 7 p.m., Prospect United Methodist Church, 6752 Ga. Highway 212;
♦ July 26, 2 to 7 p.m., Walmart Supercenter 459, 10300 Industrial Blvd.;
♦ July 29, 1:30 to 7:30 p.m., Salem United Methodist Church, 3962 Salem Road;
♦ July 25, 2 to 7 p.m., Crossroads Baptist Church, 227 Highway 229;
♦ Aug. 7, 2 to 6 p.m., Kroger 214, 3139 U.S. Highway 278 NE; and
♦ Aug. 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oxford City Hall, 110 West Clark St.
♦ July 15, 2 to 7 p.m., Conyers First United Methodist Church, 921 N Main St; and
♦ July 22, 2 to 7 p.m., AMC Crossroads 16 Conyers, 1536 Dogwood Drive.
♦ July 15, 2 to 7 p.m., Graystone Church, 1551 Ozora Road
♦ July 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Athens Orthopedic Clinic-Loganville, 3440 Highway 81 South;
♦ July 26, 1 to 7 p.m., Loganville First United Methodist Church, 221 Main St;
♦ July 29, 1 to 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 400 S. Broad St;
♦ July 30, 1 to 5 p.m., Brusters Monroe, 1431 Ga. Highway 11 North; and
♦ Aug. 5, 2 to 7 p.m., Corinth Christian Church, 1635 Ga. Highway 81 SW.