On Wednesday the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks called on eligible local folks to donate blood "immediately."

CBCO Donor Centers are located in Springfield, Joplin and in the Arkansas towns of Springdale and Bentonville.

All 44 regional hospitals working with CBCO are in need, said Chris Pilgrim, a spokesperson for the blood center. Bloodmobile stops are planned at three locations in the county.

December saw more blood donation use in local hospitals than at any time in more than 70 years. After the holidays donation levels tend to slump, so "we just need to replenish our stock," Pilgrim said. Combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted many blood drive events to be canceled, it's a recipe for a "critical" situation, CBCO said.

Local reserves of O-negative blood — the "universal" blood type that can be used in transfusions for any human being — are "alarmingly low," Pilgrim said Wednesday, "20 percent of what we'd like it to be under optimum conditions."

The blood center aims to have a three-day supply of all blood types to be as prepared as possible for any emergency that might present itself, Pilgrim said. While O-positive blood may be used to treat anybody, only 6 percent of humans naturally make it, meaning demand can often outstrip supply.

Meanwhile, the two most common blood types — O-positive and A-positive — are in "very short supply," Pilgrim said, though supplies have not yet dwindled as low as the O-negative supply. Roughly 70 percent of the population is O-positive or A-positive, Pilgrim said.

Details on local donation centers and scheduling mobile blood drives are available at cbco.org/donate-blood, CBCO said.

Successful donors will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt, and all participants will be eligible to win a 2020 Nissan Kicks compact SUV during the Drive 2 Save Lives event being held this month.

 

 

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