Red Cross winter blood shortage reaches critical level

Ongoing severe winter weather has more than doubled the number of canceled American Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a blood and platelet donation shortfall since earlier this month. The Red Cross now considers the situation critical and is reissuing an urgent call for blood and platelet donors.

More than 550 blood drives have been forced to cancel due to winter weather in January, causing over 16,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected through last week, according to the Red Cross Northern New England office. In addition, bitter cold and widespread flu have contributed to very low turnout at many blood drives.

“Blood and platelet donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in,” said Mary Brant, external communications manager of the Northern New England Red Cross Blood Services Region. “Donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients in their community.”

Every day, no matter the weather, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients of all ages. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood drives in Chittenden County include:

• Burlington: Feb. 2, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., University of Vermont Medical Center, 111 Colchester Avenue; Feb. 6, 1-7 p.m., UVM Patrick Gym, 97 Spear Street; Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vermont Department of Health, 108 Cherry St.

• Charlotte: Feb. 8, 2-7 p.m. at the Charlotte Senior Center, 212 Ferry Road.

• South Burlington: Feb. 8, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., University Mall, 155 Dorset St.

For more locations and times, visit the Red Cross website.

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