ATLANTA — If this was your vehicle’s gas gauge, you’d be more than a little nervous.
American Red Cross officials reported this week that the state’s stock of blood, especially the most needed types O and B, now stands at less than a day’s supply. At these levels, hospitals begin rationing their use of blood to have enough on hand for emergencies. Blood and platelet donations are urgently needed in the next few days to prevent the situation from worsening.
Other states across the country are experiencing a similar dangerous falloff in collections, which means the local Red Cross is unable to bring blood in from other regions to boost Georgia’s available supply.
The Red Cross is extending the operating hours of its Savannah donor center as it encourages all eligible donors to come out and donate blood this week and in the weeks ahead. As of Monday and until further notice, the donor center will be open Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
“We expected to see a falloff in donations over the summer because a significant percentage of our donor base is lost when schools close for holidays,” said a Red Cross spokesperson, “but we did not expect our inventory to hit these levels so soon. Every shortage is critical, but with almost three months ahead of us before schools reopen and collections return to normal levels, this is really serious.”
“On behalf of hospital patients across Savannah and Georgia, the Red Cross is asking anyone who is eligible to donate blood — this means you are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health — to visit our donor center to give a donation over the next few days, especially if you are type O or B. You will be helping to save someone’s life.”
Everyone who comes in to donate is eligible to enter a raffle to win a CITGO gas card valued at $750 and platelet donors also are eligible to win a pair of roundtrip tickets courtesy of Delta Air Lines.
The American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern Region needs approximately 1,200 people to donate blood each weekday to meet the needs of hospital patients.
To make an appointment or to find the donor center or blood drive nearest you, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) or log on to www.givebloodredcross.org.