Where to donate
American Red Cross
What: Need types O and B
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and noon to 7 p.m. Monday; normal hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Where: Chapter House, 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville
Contact: 770-532-8453; www.negaredcross.org
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers
When: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: 1200 McEver Road Extension, Gainesville
Contact: 770-538-0500; www.lifesouth.org
Severe weather caused the American Red Cross to fall behind on its weekly collection of blood and platelets, with mobile collection suspended, donor center closings, transportation issues, and school and child care shutdowns all but paralyzing the supply line, the nonprofit said.
"On Monday alone, 12 blood drives in Gainesville were cancelled," said April Phillips, spokeswoman for the Red Cross's Southern Region based in Douglasville. "Right now the hospitals already need blood."
In all, the Red Cross predicts this region, which encompasses Georgia and several out-of-state cities, lost more than 2,200 units of blood and platelets Monday through Wednesday as a result of the weather and its impact on scheduled drives, Phillips said.
The nonprofit's Southern Region provides blood to nearly 120 hospitals and must have 1,200 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet that demand, according to Red Cross figures. Northeast Georgia Medical Center is among those hospitals, Phillips added.
"We really need donors (this weekend)," Phillips said. "One unit of whole blood can save up to three lives."
Wednesday marked the first day that blood donation centers reopened in every part of the state, Phillips said, with only two open at all Monday. To make up for the losses, the Red Cross's Gainesville donation center will be open extended hours Friday through Sunday.
All of the blood that's collected throughout the region is taken to the processing center in Atlanta and is then farmed out to the hospitals, many of which have daily orders based on surgeries and emergency estimates. These blood shipments have been affected, slightly, Phillips said.
"It was challenging (Tuesday) morning in particular," she said. "But we worked with our couriers and sent our shipments out (Wednesday) morning, and we have one going out this afternoon. We will be doing so again Thursday."
Also pressuring the blood supply is the storm's impact on other states throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Phillips said. Georgia is considered an "import region," she added, meaning the supply collected here never meets the demand. So blood is shipped into Georgia from other states.
"That is particularly challenging in a time like this when the severe weather is going up the East Coast. A lot of those areas are where we may be getting blood products from" butroad conditions improve, Phillips said.
As a result of Georgia's cancellations and closures, platelet supplies are diminished in particular.
Donation centers are the only places where platelets, which are used for certain trauma patients including those suffering with cancer complications, can be collected, said Linda Rounds, Red Cross area district senior account manager.
"We need an immediate response to build up our supplies," Rounds said.
The time commitment is about two hours for those donors who have given platelets before. While scheduling such a visit is suggested, Rounds said walk-ins will be accepted "if a chair is open."
While blood donors have to wait eight weeks between blood donations, they can give platelets in between.
"You don't have to be sitting on the sideline," Rounds said, adding that Red Cross warnings should not be taken lightly.
"We never want to be perceived as crying wolf because the message is too important."