Blood Assurance is urging all eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood this week to help area patients and hospitals.
"Several blood types are at critical levels including O-positive, O-negative and B-negative, which are at less than one day’s supply. A-negative donors are also urgently needed at this time," officials said.
All donors age 18 years or older with these blood types who give now through Oct. 20 will receive $10 Amazon gift cards in the mail after their donation.
“This is a very critical need and we are asking anybody who can donate blood to schedule an appointment right now,” said Dr. Elizabeth Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance. “Blood cannot be manufactured and we count on regular people to be heroes every day by donating blood and saving lives. If you can give blood, please schedule today.”
"Blood banks all over the country have seen a decline in donations while usage is back to normal," officials said. "This has created a nationwide blood shortage and is limiting Blood Assurance’s ability to supplement its inventory. When Blood Assurance experiences a shortage, they can typically call on other blood centers for help. During this time, however, help is very limited due to the nationwide struggle among blood banks"
“We need our community to understand how serious this need is,” said J.B. Gaskins, president and CEO of Blood Assurance. “If you have been thinking about giving blood, the time is now and we need you.”
"Blood Assurance is continuing to take extra precautions at this time to ensure the safety of donors and staff," officials said. "Staff and donors are required to wear masks and staff are frequently disinfecting all items and surfaces used by donors. They are also accepting donors by appointment only and these appointments are being spaced apart to ensure adequate distance. Blood donation is essential to the infrastructure of healthcare and the only way to ensure patients have the blood they need is for people to donate. Blood cannot be manufactured and all blood used in community hospitals is from volunteer donors."
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
To schedule an appointment or find a donor center or mobile drive near you, visit www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628 or text ‘BAGIVE’ to 999777.