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New York Blood Center

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BLOOD AND PLATELET DONORS URGENTLY NEEDED

New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced a blood emergency on Aug. 3, as the region’s ongoing heatwave, summer travel, and a recent spike in COVID-19 cases have caused a significant decrease in donations over the past several weeks. Hospitals and patients rely upon a steady flow of donors to receive life-saving blood donations, but these factors have caused the blood supply to become unstable. The blood supply currently stands at a 1-2-day level, which is well below the ideal level of 5-7-days.

NYBC is partnering with local breweries for their “Pint for a Pint” campaign, which runs from August 1st – September 10th at all donor centers and community blood drives. As a part of this campaign, all presenting blood donors will receive a voucher to redeem a free pint of beer, cider, wine, or soft drink at their local participating brewery or restaurant. Since March 2020, the number of first-time donors has dropped dramatically and creative campaigns like “Pint for Pint” aim to raise awareness as well as amplify the need for new blood donors.

Twenty-five establishments are participating in this campaign across the region. A full list of participating breweries and restaurants can be found here. Blood donors cannot redeem their voucher for alcohol on the day of their blood donation.

“Summer has always been a challenging time for the blood supply, and we are grateful to all of our partner breweries and restaurants for stepping up to help us during this critical time,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Vice President at New York Blood Center. “All of our donor centers and blood drives are air-conditioned and donating blood could serve as a great break from record-breaking heat. Even better, we’ve partnered with breweries and restaurants all over the region for free beverages as a thank you for donating.”

“The brewing community is always willing to step up to help a great cause, and we can think of nothing more important than helping out our local blood centers, particularly during this time of extreme need,” said Paul Halayko President and Co-Owner of Newburgh Brewing Company. “We are more than happy to offer a free pint of beer to someone who selflessly gives blood to help save others, a small token of our appreciation to all the amazing donors.”

NYBC hosts blood drives every day in addition to their 19 area donor centers in order to reach donors and meet local hospital needs.

They are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Additional information on donor eligibility and COVID-19 precautions is available here.

To make an appointment at a blood drive near you, donors can call 1-800-933-2566 or visit nybc.org/pint. Can’t donate blood? You can still support NYBC’s mission by texting ‘NYBC’ to ‘20222’ to give $25.

File photo by Julianne Mosher

Among the shortages New Yorkers are facing is blood donations.

According to the New York Blood Center in a press release, two months ago, donations began to decline. The center has seen 6,000 fewer donations than earlier in the year.

“This is a disturbing trend after the chronic blood crisis during the pandemic and ran counter to our hope that our communities were returning to normal,” the press release read. “We had seen some promising signs with school blood drives returning and many organizations scheduling blood drives for the first time in two years, yet, our donor centers and community blood drives have seen a decrease of 30%. While there are more convenient blood drives happening, blood donors are just not turning out.”

The New York Blood Center is currently experiencing an inventory of less than
two to three days. Types 0+ and 0- are critically low.

Dr. Linda Mamone, director of Transfusion Services/Blood Bank at Stony Brook Medicine, answered a few questions for TBR News Media about the hospital’s experience.

Stony Brook University Hospital Blood Bank is a collection facility that serves the patients at the hospital with blood and blood products.

Has the Stony Brook University Hospital Blood Bank been experiencing a blood shortage?

We have been closely monitoring our blood inventory throughout the pandemic — and earlier, of course — but we have been fortunate enough to have had a sufficient blood supply for our patients. 

Is there a particular type of blood that there is less of? 

In terms of the four main — ABO — blood groups, O is the most common, followed by A, then B and then AB. Also, many more people are Rh positive than Rh negative. All blood types are critical for donation though.

Why do you think there is a shortage? Is there any way to solve the problem?  

Certain blood products — such as platelets — have a relatively short shelf life, which can lead to significant fluctuations. Historically the summer months and COVID-19 surges have been difficult overall.

It is important to have a diverse group of blood donors, with repeat donors being vital. Another important way to improve the blood supply is to increase awareness about blood donation. This is one option for people who may not be able to directly donate but still want to help.

Do you think people are hesitant to donate blood in a health care facility setting? If so, what is your advice to them?

Some people may be reluctant to donate in a health care facility. However, our donor center has ample space for social distancing and all prospective donors are health screened at the hospital entrance. Our staff maintains adherence to policies instituted to prevent the spread of infectious agents.

The Stony Brook University Hospital Blood Bank is located in the main lobby area of the hospital’s 5th floor in Suite 5000. To schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets, call 631-444-3662.

New York Blood Center has donor centers at 1010 Route 112, Port Jefferson Station and 905 Walt Whitman Road in Melville. Call 1-800-933-2566 to make an appointment.

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School breaks and increased travel have caused a dramatic decrease in blood donations; types O and B have dropped to 1-to-2-day level

New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced a blood emergency today, as school spring breaks and holiday travel have caused an alarming drop in donations over the past six weeks. All blood types are low and type O is at just a 1-to-2-day level.

This shortage occurs amid increasing COVID rates, which can be attributed to the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 that has been spreading rapidly throughout New York and surrounding areas. For example, New York City’s COVID transmission rate has increased 32% in the last 10 days. Last Monday, the city raised its COVID alert level to medium as cases surpassed a rate of 200 per 100,000 people in the five boroughs.

Hospitals and patients rely upon a steady flow of volunteer donors to receive life-saving blood donations, but the recent spike in cases and spring break travel have caused uncertainty. Donor participation has reached record lows at blood drives and donor centers.  In the last 6 weeks, NYBC has seen approximately 6000 fewer blood donors versus earlier this year.

“This time of the year always tends to be difficult for the blood supply, with school spring breaks and increased travel making blood donations less of a priority. These factors are now coinciding with increasing COVID cases and a potential fifth wave of the pandemic,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director at New York Blood Center. “One blood donation has the ability to save up to three lives. We highly encourage all who are able to donate today to help New Yorkers who need it most.”

It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can save multiple lives. Roughly one in seven hospital admissions require a blood transfusion. Those in need include: cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more.

 To make an appointment at a local blood drive, donors can call 1-800-933-2566 or visit by visiting nybc.org.

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It’s the season for giving.

New York Blood Center will hold its 9th annual blood drive at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington on Sunday, Dec. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Your donation will help to save up to THREE lives. Our community hospitals need your help! Please share this lifesaving gift.

All donors at The Paramount Blood Drive will also receive one (1) pair of tickets to any one of these upcoming shows…while they last!

*The Disco Nights – Friday, January 7th (DISCO), *Best of The Eagles – Thursday, January 14th (CLASSIC ROCK), *Jimmy Kenny & The Pirate Beach Band – Saturday, January 15th (TROP ROCK), *Scotty McCreery – Thursday, January 27th (COUNTRY), *Icons of Vinyl – Friday, January 28th (CLASSIC ROCK), *Voyage – Friday, February 4th (JOURNEY TRIBUTE), *Randy Houser – Thursday, February 10th (COUNTRY)

Eligibility Criteria:
• Bring ID with signature or photo.
• Minimum weight 110 lbs.
• Eat well (low fat) & drink fluids
• No tattoos for past 12 months
• Age 16 – 75 (16-year olds must have parental permission. Age 76 and over need doctor’s note)

For questions concerning medical eligibility call 1-800-688-0900 www.nybc.org.
For more information, please call The Paramount @ 631-673-7300.

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Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville hosts a blood drive on Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the 2nd floor auditorium. Appointments preferred by calling 1-800-933-2566 or by visiting www.nybc.org. All donors will be entered into a Home for the Holidays sweepstakes and receive a McDonald’s voucher. For more information, call 631-451-9100.

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Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, in partnership with the New York Blood Center, will host a blood drive on Monday, July 19 from 2 to 8 p.m. in the second floor Meeting Room at the Hauppauge Fire Department, 855 Wheeler Road, Hauppauge. While walk-ins are welcome, appointments are preferred by visiting www.nybc.org/donate or call 800-933-BLOOD.

New York Blood Center has the following COVID-19 policies in place:

·         Please wear a face covering if not vaccinated;

·         Temperatures will be taken upon arrival; and

·         All donors must be symptom-free for 14 days if recovering from COVID-19, must not have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days or be self-quarantining.

 This blood drive will not be testing for COVID-19. Individuals are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider for such a test.

 Roughly 2,000 blood donations are needed each day in the New York-New Jersey region. Especially helpful are type O negative blood donations, which are universally accepted by all patients regardless of blood type. However, all blood types are needed. Each blood donation can save up to three lives. Donations are used in a variety of scenarios and patient needs.

Questions? Call 631-724-2929.

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The Greenlawn Fire Department, 23 Boulevard Avenue, Greenlawn hosts its first blood drive of the year on Monday, Jan. 4 in the Meeting Room from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Blood Donors are essential. The public health crisis and events across the county will continue to impact the blood supply. If you’re healthy and able to visit a donor center or blood drive, we are urging you to make an immediate appointment to help keep the blood supply strong.

Appointments are required – no walk-ins will be permitted.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Questions? Call 631-261-9103.

Wading River resident Bill McGrath donates blood at the NYBC location in Terryville. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Local hospitals are in need of blood, and they are joining forces with New York Blood Center to get the word out that a donation could save a life. 

Dr. James Cassin, dental resident at St. Charles Hospital’s Dental Clinic, donating blood Nov. 10 at St. Charles Hospital’s Blood Drive. Photo from St. Charles

According to Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive director at New York Blood Center, because of the current pandemic, there is a huge shortage across the country with no sign of any more supplies incoming.

“This is a chronic deficit in blood donations so we’re trying to raise awareness,” she said. 

Cefarelli explained that before the pandemic, 75% of blood donations came from the community. 

“We came to you in your place of work, place of worship and schools,” she said. “It was super easy to donate blood.”

According to its Facebook page, NYBC provides lifesaving blood products and services to nearly 200 hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. 

But because of COVID-19, people aren’t going out to donate, especially since blood drives at schools, colleges, offices and other community groups have been canceled. 

“Post-pandemic we’re running far fewer community blood drives and so it’s not quite as convenient,” Cefarelli said. “We have a deficit of 8,000 donations per month.”

According to NYBC, New York’s health care system requires 1,500 donations each day to treat patients ranging from trauma victims to newborns to cancer patients. The lack of blood donations is “particularly dangerous given the looming uncertainty surrounding the pandemic’s trajectory over the course of this winter,” she said.

Pre-pandemic, NYBC would host 550 community blood drives every month, but it is currently hosting just 280 blood drives per month.

To make up for lost blood, NYBC has teamed up with local and regional hospitals including Northwell Health and Catholic Health Services of Long Island to spread the word and ask people to donate. 

“The lack of blood donations has caused shortages of blood types to be available in our blood bank which provides lifesaving blood to all the patients we serve within the community,” said Jon Zenker, the administrative director of Huntington Hospital’s laboratory. “We urge all members of the community who are able to donate blood to help us overcome this critical shortage so that we can continue to serve our patients and provide them with the highest quality of care.”

Greg Slater, a spokesperson with Catholic Health Services, said they have taken extra safety precautions to make people feel comfortable during COVID times. 

“It takes a little bit of time to do, but it can be a lifesaving thing for someone else,” he said. 

Cefarelli said the lack of first-time donors is also down because of the lack of blood drives in school. She is encouraging young people to lend a helping hand. 

“If you bring a son or daughter who’s a first-time donor, who doesn’t have that school experience, we’re welcoming that,” she said. “Making it a fun and safe experience is super important to us.”

She’s also reminding people that blood drives are safe and can be hosted in a socially distanced fashion. 

“We have churches, businesses and even some schools realizing that we can host a blood drive that is safe and socially distant,” she said. “We want other organizations to consider hosting a drive.”

Right now, donors can make an appointment online at any NYBC blood collection center. Upon arrival, their temperatures are checked, and masks are required. 

Stony Brook University Hospital is also accepting blood donations at their own personal blood bank. According to Linda Pugliese, blood bank donor recruiter at the hospital, every day (except for Sunday) is a blood drive there. 

“All of the whole blood and platelets that are donated in the hospital blood bank, stay at the hospital, and help provide patients with the blood products they need,” she said. “Donating at the Stony Brook University Hospital Blood Bank is truly an example of community service.”

Since they are not affiliated with NYBC, SBUH’s blood supply is currently stable, but their demand has reached pre-COVID-19 levels. “There is a critical need to meet the challenges for blood donations created by the pandemic,” she said.