Blood centers urge Butler County blood donations after winter storms

Snow blanketed the Miami University campus Feb. 9 as the Armstrong Student Center hosted the first blood drive of the spring semester. Despite a one-hour weather delay as students negotiated snow piles and the return of more in-person classes, the sponsoring MU Equestrian Team was ready to ride to the rescue. CONTRIBUTED
Snow blanketed the Miami University campus Feb. 9 as the Armstrong Student Center hosted the first blood drive of the spring semester. Despite a one-hour weather delay as students negotiated snow piles and the return of more in-person classes, the sponsoring MU Equestrian Team was ready to ride to the rescue. CONTRIBUTED

The American Red Cross and Hoxworth Blood Center both are urging people to donate blood after the need increased because winter storms prevented blood drives and decreased routine donations.

“Because of all the snow recently, a lot of our drives were canceled,” said Cara Nicolas, spokeswoman for Hoxworth Blood Center.

At Hoxworth, which serves more than 30 hospitals in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, “We need to collect 400 units (about a pint per unit) every single day, and we did not get that last week,” she said. “With Snowmageddon on Monday and Tuesday, that really impacted our ability to collect.”

“We have our mobile blood drives, which go out to businesses or schools, and if schools close, then the blood drives are shut down. So a lot of those were cancelled last week,” Nicolas said. “Also, we had a lot of missed appointments or people who had to reschedule” because of treacherous driving conditions.

The Red Cross, which supplies more than 40 percent of the country’s blood supply, is facing a similar need nationwide because of winter storms throughout most of the country in recent weeks, said regional spokeswoman Marita Salkowski.

“When situations like this, with the bad weather, are so prevalent across so many states, it really takes a toll on the Red Cross blood supply,” she said. “We’ve had extreme weather in about 30 states, and it’s caused more than 15,000 blood- and platelet donations to go uncollected.”

“Here in Ohio, we’ve had at least 20 drives that have been canceled across the state,” for the Red Cross alone, Salkowski said.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic about a year ago, the Red Cross saw many cancellations because of concerns about the infection, Salkowski said. But as things started opening back up, “we started to see our donation supply start to open back up again,” she said.

Masks are required at the centers, and beds have been distanced, with temperature checks for all who enter, and extra cleaning. So, “people are starting to donate again, because they have become comfortable with the procedures the Red Cross has put in place because of covid-19,” Salkowski said. “But those procedures themselves have lessened the ability to collect as many as we had been, because fewer people are cycling through.”

Hoxworth North, located at 7844 Kingland Drive, off of Tylersville Road in West Chester Township, is the norternmost Hoxworth location, although Hoxworth also has mobile blood drives in the county.

Hoxworth’s Tri-County location is at 11812 Springfield Pike, in the Wimbleton Plaza Shopping Center.

“Obviously, we are trying to get people to donate as soon as possible,” Nicolas said. “But the need is going to continue, so if they can’t get in right away, or if there’s not a blood drive coming up near their home or work for another week or two, that’s totally fine. We just want people to get their appointments on the book, and show up, whether that’s this week or in a couple of weeks.”

How to donate blood

Here are ways to find out were/when you can donate blood:

  • For Hoxworth Blood Center, people wanting to donate can call 513-451-0910 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit hoxworth.org to schedule donations. At hoxworth.org, click on the button at the top of the page that says, “Donate Now.” Then click on “Find a Drive” near the top of the next page. You can then enter a zip code of where you live or work to find mobile blood drives or to make a reservation at a permanent donation location, such as in West Chester or Tri-County.
  • Through the American Red Cross, go to www.redcrossblood.org and in the top right corner, enter a zip code in the “Find a Blood Drive” box at the top right corner. Another way is to call 1-800-RED-CROSS and speak with a national operator, who can find a local donation site and possibly even set up an appointment.

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