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Health

Despite Strong Donor Response in Ozarks, Blood Reserve Levels Critically Low

Blood donation
Bryan Jones
/
Flickr

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is warning of an unprecedented low level of blood for this time of year, in part because of deferrals for donors who have traveled abroad. 

The organization is calling for people of all blood types to donate as many reserves are at less than a one-day supply.

In a news release, CBCO says the decrease in actual donations comes despite a strong donor response.

Since July 1, the blood center has registered 16,000 blood donors at area blood drives and donation centers. However, the number of donations available for use by area hospitals has dropped by more than 800.

CBCO Executive Director Anthony Roberts says travel restrictions related to the Zika virus have resulted in a significant increase in temporary deferrals.

“Since May, we have deferred donors who have travelled outside the country for 28 days. In addition, donor eligibility requirements for hematocrit, the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood in your circulatory system, have become more stringent. This combination of donor restrictions has contributed to the blood shortage we’re experiencing now.”

Those donor restrictions will minimize come November when CBCO begins testing each blood donation for the Zika virus. That, the organization says, will eliminate the travel restriction associated with it.

“That will certainly help ease donor deferrals down the road, but we desperately need more donors to give now,” Roberts said. “Our Springfield donor center is open seven days a week and we have blood drives scheduled all across our region every day. We urge healthy individuals to find a location nearby to give the gift of life soon.”

Potential blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. To locate a blood drive in your area, call 1-800-280-5337 or visit www.cbco.org.

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