RI Blood Center facing shortage due to active flu season


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Blood centers across the country say they’re experiencing a shortage and flu season is to blame.

Centers are looking for donations of all different types of blood but as of right now, there’s a critical shortage of O negative – the universal donor.

The Rhode Island Blood Center‘s Kara LeBlanc says since so many people are coming down with colds and the flu, there’s been a dip in donations.

“There’s no shortage of people who need them for cancer and so many other things, so there can’t be a shortage of platelet donors who are giving,” LeBlanc said. “What we need is more people to try a platelet donation.”

Platelets have a very short shelf life, and a single platelet donation can produce several transfusable units, according to the R.I. Blood Center.

To learn about the different ways you can give, click here »

“With Rhode Island seeing elevated flu activity and many blood donors not healthy enough to give, now is a perfect time for people who are well to consider making this life-saving gift,” R.I. Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said.

“In Rhode Island alone, someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds,” she continued. “By giving blood, you have the power to save a life!”

Experts say some centers only have a three-day supply of O positive and O negative blood types.

In light of the critical need for blood and January being National Blood Donor Month, all presenting donors at the R.I. Blood Center this month will receive a $5 Dunkin’ gift card.

To find a center or blood drive in your area, visit ribc.org. You can also call or text (401) 453-8383 and the scheduling team will help you find a date, time and location that works best for you.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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