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Holiday, snowstorm lead to blood shortage



Published: Thu, February 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Six blood types are in short supply in northeastern Ohio.

Two days of little or no blood collections has put the blood supply in southwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio in jeopardy.

The Central Blood Bank in Pittsburgh said the snowstorm forced it to close all of its community donor centers and all but one of its mobile operations.

Holidays, such as Monday's Presidents Day, mean the loss of many blood collection drives because many government offices and other businesses are closed, said Karen Kelley, marketing manager for American Red Cross Northern Ohio Blood Services Region. The region serves 19 counties, including Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana.

Northern Ohio ARC officials fear the loss of an anticipated 300 pints of blood if schools are closed today, Kelley said. Blood drives are conducted at schools for staff members and students, and also sometimes schools are the venue for community blood drives, she said.

Kelley said the Northern Ohio region is below the minimum three-day supply in six of eight blood types: O, A, B and AB negative, and O and B positive.

Effects of snowstorm

Blood collections were practically nonexistent because of Sunday's storm, said Pittsburgh Central Blood Bank spokeswoman Deborah Ervin. Central Blood Bank is a main supplier of blood and blood products to UPMC Horizon in both Greenville and Farrell as well as United Community Hospital in Grove City.

Central Blood Bank needs to register at least 725 donors daily to meet the region's needs, Ervin said. It planned to open all of its community donor centers and restart its mobile blood drives today, weather permitting.

"Two days without blood collections puts the regional blood supply in an extremely tenuous situation," Ervin said.




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