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Cold weather leads to blood shortage
0112BLOOD
Phlebotomist Angela Hayes monitors Joe Earley on Monday afternoon during his biweekly donation of blood platelets at the American Red Cross on Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Where to donate blood or platelets

American Red Cross
When: Noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Where: Gainesville Donor Center, 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville
Contact: Make an appointment by calling Regina Sinare at 770-532-4620

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Where: 1200 McEver Road Extension, Gainesville
Contact: 770-538-0500

The recent snow and ice in the Southeast has caused blood supplies to drop to emergency levels, according to the American Red Cross.

"We’ve had a decline with the donors coming into the donor center," said Regina Sinare of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"Most of the donors were calling in canceling due to the weather, which puts us way behind on blood and platelets."

In other areas, the winter storms caused Red Cross chapters to cancel blood drives.

Sinare said the Red Cross sees a decline in donations each winter because of the busy holiday season. This winter, ice and snow on the heels of the new year have exacerbated the problem.

"We’re in desperate need especially of O negative and B negative types for blood and any A type donors for platelets," Sinare said.

Platelets are the cells that help blood clot.

"Any patient that takes chemotherapy or radiation treatment needs platelets," she said.

Type O negative is especially crucial because it can be used for any patient in situations where there isn’t enough time to determine the blood type.

"Our whole region is short, but especially the North Georgia area," Sinare said.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Spokeswoman Katie Dubnik said the hospital has not yet experienced any major shortages.

"We have seen a slight decrease," Dubnik said. "It’s nothing to be alarmed by, but we are keeping a really close eye on it."

Dubnik said the hospital receives its blood supplies from the American Red Cross and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

"We have two sources, which is good," Dubnik said.

Blood typically takes 42 days from the time of donation to reach the hospital, Dubnik said, so it will likely be a while before the hospital feels the effects of a shortage.

"Get out and give as much as you can, as soon as you can, safely," Dubnik said. "We always encourage folks to do so."

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