What’s Going Around: Blood donations

Jessi HawkinsVolunteer Spotlight

The winter weather is slowing down blood donations at Community Blood Center of the Ozarks.
Published: Jan. 17, 2024 at 10:11 AM CST
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – People have been rolling up their sleeves for Community Blood Center of the Ozarks since 1995. However, as the frigid temperatures bring life to a standstill in the Ozarks, the winter weather is also slowing down donations.

“January can be kind of a challenging time on the local blood supply due to winter weather and illnesses,” said Michelle Teter, the media relations coordinator for Community Blood Center of the Ozarks. “We have blood drives that get canceled. We go to a lot of high schools and schools aren’t in session right now so we’re down about 200 blood donations that we’ve lost for the month of January.”

It’s a shortage not being felt just here in the Ozarks. Donations to the American Red Cross are down 40 percent from 20 years ago.

“I think COVID played a role in that,” said Teter. “People weren’t at the office, a lot of people were working more from home so mobile blood drives and things like that were canceled.”

She said being the sole provider to 45 hospitals in three states requires a lot of donations to keep up with demand.

“We have four donor centers, one in Springfield, one in Joplin, one in Springdale, Arkansas, and one in Bentonville, and then, on average, we do five to seven blood drives a day, so with all of that, it meets our need of 200 blood donations a day,” said Teter.

She said those donations save the lives of many.

“About 25 percent of our blood supply goes to cancer patients, platelets are used for burn victims,” said Teter. “A lot of times during childbirth, things can happen and they need a blood transfusion. traumas and tragedies, car accidents, surgeries.”

Teter said the requirements to donate are to be at least 16 years old (with parent permission) or 17 (without permission), weigh at least 110 pounds, and feel well that day. She said if you have further questions about your eligibility, you can call their donation center.

In other parts of the Ozarks, at Lake Regional Health System in Lebanon, their primary clinics only had 37 positive COVID tests, which is down from last week. In their hospital they did see a slight increase in positive COVID and flu tests over the past two weeks.

At Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar they had one COVID patient and one flu patient in the hospital. Across their whole system they had 72 positive flu cases and 54 positive COVID cases this week, which they said is down from the high after Christmas.

At CoxHealth in Springfield, they saw a numbers go down in their urgent cares and emergency departments over the weekend. However falls and extremity injuries were up significantly over the last week. Motor vehicle accidents were also up significantly over the last week, and there were a few cases of frostbite, all of course, due to the frigid temperatures in the Ozarks. They are seeing an increase in flu cases across the system but they’ve still not yet peaked for the season..

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Volunteer Ozarks: Community Blood Center of the Ozarks

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