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Red Cross issues emergency call for blood donors

Julianne Wills packs blood products to be sent to a hospital. Amanda Romney/American Red Cross 1 / 3
Donor Thomas Brown finishes giving whole blood with American Red Cross staff member Alex White. Amanda Romney/American Red Cross2 / 3
Blood drive options are coming to your area. Amanda Romney/American Red Cross 3 / 3

A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care.

The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year's than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply.

"Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors," said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. "When donations decline — as they did around the holidays and may further decline if severe winter weather and flu season pick up — lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed."

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand, well below the ideal five-day supply needed to respond to emergencies and daily hospital needs. Blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.

"We hope people can resolve to save lives now — when there is an emergency need — as well as throughout the year," added Numark.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Jan. 14-Feb. 15:

Otter Tail County

Fergus Falls

1/23/2019: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Bigwood Event Center, 925 Western Ave.

1/24/2019: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Bigwood Event Center, 925 Western Ave.

1/25/2019: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Bigwood Event Center, 925 Western Ave.

2/8/2019: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Minnesota State Community & Technical College, 1414 College Way

Henning

1/22/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Community Center, 607 2nd St.

Parkers Prairie

1/16/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Parkers Prairie High School, 411 S. Otter Ave.

Pelican Rapids

1/21/2019: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Lake Region Electric Co., 1401 S. Broadway

Perham

1/30/2019: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., PACC, 620 3rd Ave. SE

Underwood

1/17/2019: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Underwood High School, 100 Southern Ave. E.