Longmont officials urge residents to donate blood amid nationwide shortage

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Longmont, like the rest of the country, faces a severe shortage of blood banks and UCHealth is asking residents to donate blood in the next few weeks – and every eight weeks thereafter.

“Summer activities and vacations often make it difficult for people to stick to their regular blood donation schedules,” said Bridget Aesoph, donor recruiter for the Garth Englund blood centers at UCHealth Northern Colorado. “But this year, the typical summer lull in donations and the seasonal increase in demand for blood have both been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Longmont faces a severe shortage of blood banks and UCHealth is asking residents to donate blood. (UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital / Courtesy photo).

“Donating once would be great, but we really hope more people donate every eight weeks for several months to help keep blood on the shelves. We will need a continuous supply to overcome this. “

UCHealth Longs Peak spokesperson Kelly Tracer said: “Hospitals see increase in severe trauma cases and emergency department visits, as well as more blood transfusions due to deferred care and the advanced progression of the disease. “

Garth Englund Blood Centers in northern Colorado report that donated red blood cells have dropped nearly 3%, but demand has increased nearly 9% since the summer of 2019.

The demand for red blood cells from hospitals with trauma centers has increased 10% nationwide during the pandemic, according to the American Red Cross.

“Officials expect this shortage to last for weeks or even months in what could be the most difficult summer blood centers in years,” Tracer said.

Tracer said the donated blood helps patients who have suffered serious injuries or burns, patients battling cancer or other serious illnesses, and helps with successful surgeries and organ transplants. She also said that the blood banks also help “women who suffer from pregnancy complications.”

UCHealth needs donors of all blood groups, but especially type O donors. “We also need donations of platelets of all blood groups,” Tracer said.

UCHealth Longs Peak has two mobile blood drives in July and appointments will be required. Residents who wish to donate blood can call (970) 495-8965 or using the links provided below.

If there are no appointments available at the two mobile blood donation clinics, residents can also make an appointment with the UCHealth donor centers in Loveland or Fort Collins by calling (970) 495 -8965 or by visiting the clinic’s website at Blood donation.

“To donate, a person must be at least 18 or 17 with a parent’s permission and present photo ID,” Tracer said. New donors must weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health. A whole blood donation takes between 30 and 40 minutes and a platelet donation between 90 and 120 minutes.

“We love all of our donors,” Aesoph said. “A lot of them donate blood because they just want to do something to help others. Others donate because at some point in their lives a loved one or friend has been on the other end of the phone for a vital blood transfusion, and they want to pay the next. Either way, it’s such a quick and easy thing to do, and it saves lives.

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