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Editorial: Make an appointment to give blood as nation faces an ‘urgent’ shortage, Red Cross says | COMMENTARY

COVID-19 affected our lives in many ways and one of those was that a number of people deferred going to the hospital for necessary health care needs during the height of the pandemic.

As those people now head to the hospital for treatment, they are presenting with more advanced disease progression, which has required increased blood transfusions, according to the American Red Cross.

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Increases in elective surgeries, coupled with trauma cases and organ transplants, has left the Red Cross facing an urgent blood shortage.

“Over the last three months, the Red Cross has distributed about 75,000 more blood products than expected to meet these needs,” according to a news release from the organization. “As a result of this shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes.”

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Because blood cannot be stockpiled, the supply must be constantly replenished. The summer months tend to be tough on donations too, as people begin traveling and enjoying more leisure time, and giving blood might be the furthest thing from their minds.

That’s why we’re asking our community to consider making a donation as soon as possible to help with the current shortage, and think about donating again later this summer once you’re eligible to donate again.

While there is a shortage of donations, there is no shortage of donation opportunities in our community. But please, don’t forget to make an appointment and check your eligiblity to give blood first.

Today, June 16, the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Edgewood is hosting a blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m. On Thursday, there are blood drives scheduled at the Havre de Grace Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air has three blood drives scheduled over the next few weeks, including next Wednesday, June 23, from 1:30 to 7 p.m., and July 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The Knights of Columbus in Forest Hill also have a blood drive on June 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Next month, the Bel Air United Methodist Church has a drive from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 12; Bel Air Church of the Nazarene has one from 2 to 7:30 p.m. July 19; the Town of Bel Air will have a community blood drives at the Armory from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 21 and July 27 , and the American Legion Post 39 will host a blood drive from noon to 5:30 p.m. July 23.

In northern Harford County, the Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company will host a blood drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 17.

To encourage people to make blood and platelet donations, the Red Cross is offering a $5 Amazon gift card to donors through June 30.

Use the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767) to make an appointment today.

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