The American Red Cross says it is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise and deplete the nation’s blood inventory.

It is seeking donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – to donate as soon as possible. Demand for blood from trauma centers has climbed by 10% in 2021, and hospitals also need blood for patients whose health deteriorated as they deferred care during the height of the pandemic

Over the past three months, the Red Cross says, it has distributed about 75,000 more blood products than expected. The shortage has forced some hospitals to delay elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, according to the organization. Blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled, so it must constantly be replenished by generous blood donors.

To schedule an appointment, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Those who donate through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email.

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In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

Upcoming blood drives in Douglas County:

Alexandria

  • Thursday, June 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 1655 18th Ave. E.
  • Friday, June 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1427 Lake St.
  • Friday, June 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Cornerstone Church Alexandria, 202 7th Ave. E.
  • Monday, June 21, noon-6 p.m., Viking Plaza, 3015 Highway 29 S.
  • Tuesday, June 22, noon-6 p.m., Viking Plaza, 3015 Highway 29 S.

Miltona

Thursday, June 24, noon-6 p.m., Miltona Community Center, 5590 County Road 14