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Blood supply in New Orleans is critically low, officials say

Some+bins+in+the+blood+storage+sit+empty+on+Feb.+3%2C+2018.+The+Blood+Center+says+that+it+has+a+critically+low+blood+supply.+Photo+credit%3A+Sidney+Holmes
Some bins in the blood storage sit empty on Feb. 3, 2018. The Blood Center says that it has a critically low blood supply. Photo credit: Sidney Holmes

Some bins in the blood storage sit empty on Feb. 3, 2018. The Blood Center says that it has a critically low blood supply. Photo credit: Sidney Holmes

Some bins in the blood storage sit empty on Feb. 3, 2018. The Blood Center says that it has a critically low blood supply. Photo credit: Sidney Holmes

Sidney Holmes

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The blood supply in the Greater New Orleans area is critically low, according to The Blood Center.

Because of the shortage, blood banks around New Orleans are encouraging people to donate more blood during this time of need.

Paul Adams, public relations director of The Blood Center, said that three factors led to the low supply: low donorship, cold weather and the flu.

Adams said about 40 percent of the blood they collect comes from high school and college students, but most schools were closed through late January.

“When schools are out, collections dip,” he said.

Adams said the unusual cold spell in mid-January kept people from going out to donate blood.

“New Orleans isn’t expected to have this much cold weather, so when your streets are shut down, that’s going to affect blood donations,” he said.

On top of the excessive cold, Adams said this year’s flu season hurt donations because people with the flu, of course, can’t donate blood.

“All of those factors put together have created this worst-case scenario,” Adams said.

And for The Blood Center, that worse case scenario has shrunk the center’s three-day supply of blood to about a day’s worth of blood.

While hospitals have their own blood supply, Adams said that The Blood Center’s supply serves as a backup.

“If something major happens or the city closes down, we aren’t going to have blood banked,” he said.

To encourage more donations, Adams said that some of The Blood Center’s locations are staying open for more hours but stated that right now all they can do is ask people to come together to donate.

“If you have a community organization, if you have a church, synagogue whatever, give us a call, because we have a got a handful of buses outside, and we will show up to your church, school, business, whatever, and put on a blood drive,” he said.

With the way that the blood is distributed, one donation can save three lives. That is why music industry senior Sean McCreavy said donating blood is so important to him.

“I can get over my fear of needles for five seconds to save three lives,” McCreavy said.

As someone with Type O-positive blood, McCreavy tries to give blood twice a year. He said he is motivated by the fact that blood could not only save other people’s lives, but it could also save his life someday.

“The way I think about it is that I have O blood, so if I’m in trouble losing a lot of blood, there’s only one type of blood that can save me, and that’s O blood,” McCreavy said.

If more people start donating, Adams believes that there would never be a blood shortage again.

“About five percent of the population are actual blood donors, and if we could increase that by just one percent, we would never be in this situation,” Adams said.

More information about The Blood Center and upcoming blood drives can be found at thebloodcenter.org.

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About the Writer
Sidney Holmes, Editor in Chief

Sidney is a mass communication senior with a focus in journalism. Before she took the position of Editor in Chief, she served as Assistant Producer of...

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Blood supply in New Orleans is critically low, officials say