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Blood donations take holiday dip, but mostly bounce back

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As expected, blood donations on the Central Coast declined markedly during Thanksgiving week.

United Blood Services Central Coast which provides all of the blood needed by hospitals in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties announced on Nov. 27 that donations during that time period averaged 189 units a day a far cry from the 270 units needed to maintain an adequate blood supply for the area.

The center cited a similar dip in donations between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year as reason for concern this year. The 2005 lull resulted in a critical shortage by Dec. 9, which stretched through mid-January of this year.

However, on Dec. 5, United Blood Services Central Coast's Janna Nichols announced that donations dramatically improved the week prior though there's still a critical appeal for one particular type.

"We are critically in need of Type O Negative blood right now, as it is the blood that can be safely transfused to patients of all blood types," Scott Edward, blood center spokesperson, said in a statement. "It is often transfused in emergency situations when there is no time to type the patient and perform a cross match with donor blood."

Edward explained that the center hasn't seen any usage spikes, but is bracing itself since Type O Negative supplies are always the first to drop.

The center is still asking anyone who can donate blood to do so during the holiday season. The San Luis Obispo donation center is located at 4119 Broad Street in the Creekside Center, and is open Monday through Friday and a half day on Sunday. To schedule an appointment or locate a nearby blood drive, call 543-4290 or visit www.UnitedBloodServices.org/CentralCoast. Walk-ins are welcome.

 

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