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Blood drives being held this month

With the one-two punch of extreme winter weather and the partial federal government shutdown reducing blood donations, the American Red Cross is reissuing its emergency call for blood and platelet donors.

“Disruptions to blood and platelet donations jeopardize the availability of blood for patients who depend on transfusions for survival,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We’re grateful for all those who have come out to give since we issued our emergency call earlier this month and now urge others to come out and give to prevent delays in essential medical care.”

In January, more than 4,600 Red Cross blood and platelet donations went uncollected as blood drives were forced to cancel due to severe winter weather blanketing parts of the U.S.

The federal government shutdown also affected donations as more than 4 percent of Red Cross blood collections come from drives sponsored by military and local, state and federal government agencies.

About 30 blood drives hosted by federal offices were canceled across the country due to the shutdown, leaving more than 900 donations uncollected.

Red Cross blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand.

The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products.

The Red Cross will have several blood drives in Lawrence County including ones at Ironton High School at 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Friday, at Rock Hill High School from 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, at Ohio University Southern’s Riffe Center from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 21, at the Ironton Fire Department from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 and at Fairland High School from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients.

Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).