Emergency blood shortage lingers

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SYRACUSE — The American Red Cross is warning that an emergency blood and platelet shortage has caused the blood supply to drop to the lowest post-summer level in at least six years.

With less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks, the Red Cross asks donors of all blood types – especially type O − to make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible to ensure patients can receive the lifesaving transfusions they rely on. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds from summer blood shortages, but a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. due to the Delta variant has contributed to the lowest donor turnout of the year. To shore up inventory, the Red Cross must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week this month to meet hospital and patient needs.

Donations help those with breast cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Red Cross reminds donors of the importance of blood to those undergoing treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 1.9 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. this year, and more than 281,000 of those individuals will have breast cancer.

Patients with breast cancer and other cancers may need blood products on a regular basis during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications. In fact, nearly 25% of the blood supply is used by cancer patients.

Upcoming blood drives:

Oneida — Saturday, Oct. 23, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., St Paul’s United Methodist Church, 551 Sayles St.; Tuesday, Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Holy Cross Academy, 4020 Barrington Road;

Wampsville — Thursday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Madison County Building 5, 138 N. Court St.;

Boonville — Tuesday, Oct. 19, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Adirondack Central School, 8181 Route 294;

Lee Center — Friday, Oct. 22, 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., Lee Town Hall, 5808 Stokes-Lee Center Road;

Oriskany — Friday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., American Legion, 7908 Route 69;

Rome — Friday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran Church, 502 W. Chestnut St.;

Utica — Friday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., County Office Building, 800 Park Ave.; Thursday, Oct. 28, noon to 4 p.m., Redeemer Church, 931 Herkimer Road;

Waterville — Saturday, Oct. 30, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Village Hall, 122 Barton Ave.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

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