The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Red Cross Center, saying its inventory of blood supplies is at its lowest level in 2 1/2 years, is asking more urgently than usual for blood donations.
"We're writing letters to businesses to book one extra blood drive," said Pat Lakatta, Red Cross spokeswoman. "We are asking individuals to give one extra time and more first-time givers to come forward.
"We just don't have the inventory we need," she said.
Lakatta attributed the sharper-than-usual summer slowdown to a variety of reasons. They included vacations, unemployment and continued unrealistic worries about contracting diseases such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome when giving blood.
"For the past few months, we have been collecting 800 to 900 units [pints] a day as compared with the usual 1,300 we get and need. If we keep at this pace, by the end of August, we'll be 4,400 units below what we need and usually have," she said.
An emergency appeal to state workers at the State Office complex on East Preston Street on Friday netted 88 pints rather than the 200 hoped for, partly because of a bomb scare that emptied a building.
The Greater Chesapeake region covers Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and southern Pennsylvania around York. Donors in the Central Maryland area may walk into any of six Red Cross donor centers in the area, but the Red Cross said it prefers they call (800) GIVE BLOOD to make appointments. The time needed to donate a pint of whole blood is about 45 minutes, the center said.
People may also give blood at companies and hospitals.
Donors must meet health requirements, be 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. The Red Cross imposes no upper age limit.
Pub Date: 8/06/96