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Red Cross: Critical type O blood shortage; donors needed now

The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges eligible donors to give now to help patients facing trauma and other life-threatening situations. As a thank-you, all donors who give blood or platelets through June 10 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. 

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms, where it can be most critical. That means just six units of type O blood are available for every 100,000 people, but at least 14 are needed every day. While just seven percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and is also critical in trauma situations.

“All blood types are urgently needed, but we’re facing a critical shortage of type O blood – the blood group most needed by hospitals,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Because it’s vitally important for hospitals to have type O blood available when every second counts, type O donors are urged to donate now and make a point to donate often.”

The Red Cross collected approximately 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. Spring break schedules are known to decrease blood donations, and schools, including high schools and colleges, begin to host fewer blood drives in late spring as school years end. Because these drives account for about 20% of blood donations during the school year, less drives can also greatly affect the blood supply.

Donations needed now 

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to 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). Eligible donors with type O blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or Power Red donation, where available. During a Power Red donation, donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross May 1 through June 10, 2019, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.) Additionally, those who come to give May 24-28 will receive an exclusive Red Cross-branded T-shirt, while supplies last.  

Upcoming local blood donation opportunities:

Capitola

6/7: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Jade Street Community Center, 4400 Jade St.

Santa Cruz

6/6: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 220 Elk St.

6/8: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange #503, 1900 17th Ave

Watsonville

6/5: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., West Marine Building, 500 Westridge Drive

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