CLEVELAND -- Area blood supplies are so low the American Red Cross is not able to meet the requests of hospitals on a timely basis.
Red Cross officials said Thursday that the there was no type A positive blood in inventory, less than a half- day's supply of O positive and negative, and less than a day's supply of B positive and A negative.
Also there is less than a minimum standard of units of type B negative.
Also, while 200 units is the minimum for platelets, Thursday's supply was 24 units. One use for platelets is in the treatment of cancer patients, said Mike Cook, communications specialist with Red Cross Blood Services, Northern Ohio Region.
Cook said thousands of northern Ohioans could be impacted by the crisis, possibly by having to delay elective surgeries, unless blood donations increase immediately.
Only 5 percent of people eligible to give blood are donors, Cook said. In the Northern Ohio Region during the last 12 months, 115,000 people have donated. Some 20 percent of donors are high school students who give mostly during the school year. Since they are on summer vacation, they are more difficult to recruit, he said.
Donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 105 pounds, and be in good health.
The Red Cross asks that residents call (800) GIVE-LIFE for information on where to donate blood in their area.