Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, the exclusive supplier of blood, platelets and plasma to patients at 44 area healthcare facilities, is issuing a critical appeal for all blood types.
Blood reserves are low, with less than a two-day supply available, and eligible donors are asked to give immediately at a Community Blood Center of the Ozarks blood drive or donor center.
While many have had to deal with nationwide shortages of everything from toilet paper to formula due to various factors, a community blood shortage is not the same.
"While people are used to having to find alternatives to products that are in short supply, we cannot do the same with blood. There is no alternative," Anthony Roberts, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks executive director said. "And the great news is that there is a plentiful supply of blood in our area. We just need people to share it."
Roberts went on to point out how easy it is to donate blood. "It only takes about an hour out of your day to be someone's hero and we are counting on our community heroes to step up and make a difference for our local patients."
CBCO reports that much of the shortage has to do with the time of year and some lingering effects of the pandemic.
"We are in the time of year where we lose the opportunity to work with schools and colleges, so we have to count on other groups to help support the blood supply during the summer," Roberts said. "We are also seeing many businesses calling employees back from working at home but not yet allowing blood drives at their facilities. Most people are willing to donate when there's a convenient opportunity, whether at work, church, or school, but those opportunities aren't as plentiful as in the pre-pandemic world."
So, CBCO is asking those in the community to find a nearby location by going to its website and locate a nearby donor center or mobile blood drive.
Area hospitals are also asking those in the community to take the time to give blood.
"When emergencies happen, the need for blood is critically important for us," said Larry Shackelford, Washington Regional president and CEO. "The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is our local blood supplier, and our patients receive the blood products they need from blood donors who donate with CBCO."
Donors can give at one of four CBCO donor centers located in Springfield and Joplin in Missouri, and in Springdale or Bentonville in Arkansas. There are also opportunities to give at mobile blood drives across the Ozarks.
Appointments are strongly encouraged to manage donor flow. To schedule your appointment call 417-227-5006 or go to https://www.cbco.org/donate-blood/.
On behalf of local hospital patients, CBCO thanks blood donors from across the region for giving life to their communities.