During the first week of National Blood Donor Month, Blood Assurance is experiencing a sharp increase in cancellations due to the Covid-19 omicron variant and winter weather.
Since January 1, more than 50 blood drives have not occurred due to inclement weather and the rise in Covid-19 cases.
The cancellations have resulted in a loss of 800 units of blood that would have been supplied to area hospitals.
Beginning Friday, Blood Assurance will likely have less than a one-day supply of O-positive blood, as well as A-positive, A-negative and B-negative.
Through Sunday, Jan. 9, Blood Assurance is offering $10 Amazon gift cards to ALL donors and $20 Amazon gift cards to those who donate double red cells, platelets, or plasma.
Donation centers throughout Middle Tennessee will be open both days this weekend to try and make up for some of the lost units. Facilities in Clarksville, Cool Springs, Cookeville, Columbia, Hermitage and Tullahoma will be open Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Those same centers will open their doors on Friday at 12 p.m.
Donors are encouraged to schedule appointments at BloodAssurance.org/schedule. Walk-ins will also accepted.
“The need for blood never stops,” according to Christopher Swafford, Blood Assurance’s chief operating officer. “Winter weather will impact road conditions, which could lead to increased blood usage due to traffic crashes and other traumas. We want to ensure that hospitals in this area have what they need to deal with any situation.”
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.