Emergency Call For Northern California Blood Donations; Zika Partially a Factor

The American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelets this week, urging all eligible donors to give now to replenish an extremely low summer blood supply.

“Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which is why we are making this emergency request for donations,” Neil Tosuntikool, donor recruitment director of the Red Cross Northern California Services Region, said in a statement on Monday. “Donations are urgently needed now to meet the needs of hospital patients in the coming days and weeks. If you’ve thought about giving blood and helping to save lives, now is the time to do it. It’s the blood donations on the shelves that help save lives when an emergency occurs.”

The Red Cross in Washington, D.C. made the same plea on July 5, saying that it was hard to collect blood over the Fourth of July weekend. At that time, the Red Cross said Blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months, resulting in about 39,000 fewer donations than what’s needed.

At the same time, the Sacramento Bee noted that BloodSource, which collects blood from Merced to Chico and distributes it to about 100 California hospitals, put out the “critical appeal” on July 5, asking for more blood, to alleviate a supply shortage aggravated by the ongoing Zika epidemic in Latin America.

Visitors to the U.S. territory as well as to Zika-hit countries, such as Brazil, Mexico and Cuba, are barred from donating blood within about a month of returning to the U.S.

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