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Hutchinson highlights need for blood donations in COVID update

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There's a pressing need for blood donations, both in Arkansas and nationwide, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday during his weekly COVID-19 update.

Lori Arnold, executive director at the Arkansas office of the American Red Cross, joined Hutchinson at the update to ask Arkansans to contribute to the organization's efforts to increase its blood product inventory.

"Every two seconds, someone in America will need blood," Arnold said. "Almost everyone knows somebody who, in their lifetime, will need a blood or platelet transfusion."

Hutchinson also noted that September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. According to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, an estimated 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease, and the Arkansas Department of Health reports that one in 60 babies born in Arkansas each year will have the sickle cell trait.

"During the pandemic, the donations of blood have decreased by about 10% and the need has increased, particularly in recent days with hurricanes and other things that have happened," Hutchinson said. "There is a demand there with the supply not being what we want it to be."

Alexandria Bennett, executive director of business development for Medical Center of South Arkansas, said that while patient care hasn't been disrupted, the hospital does have "lower than normal availability of some blood products."

"Although donor supply is down, our hospital has been able to source supplies when needed," Bennett said.

Arnold noted that only 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, and within that group, only about 10% actually do make donations.

"Keep in mind that blood cannot be manufactured in a lab. The only way to get blood products is through the life-giving donation of blood by another person to our patients who are in need," she said.

LifeShare Blood Center will be hosting a mobile blood drive at MCSA on Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"We strongly urge our community to come and give blood," Bennett said.

She noted that a single car accident victim could require as much as 100 units of blood during treatment.

One can also set an appointment to give blood at the LifeShare Blood Center at 1803B N. West Ave. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Visit donor.lifeshare.org/donor/schedules/center/10 to learn more.

"We encourage everybody who is in the position that they can give blood to consider a........

© El Dorado News Times

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