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Red Cross facing blood shortage
Blood drive file
Red Cross officials say they are facing a critical blood shortage that is causing them to cut blood shipments to local hospitals.
    "Anytime we have to cut shipments, we're facing an urgent need," said Nancy Martin, senior account manager for Red Cross blood services.
    Martin attributed the low supplies to several factors, including illnesses and bad weather, making it difficult for people to donate.
    Locally, there are five blood drives in the next week, beginning today at Georgia Southern.
    "I'm encouraging everyone who is eligible to give blood to do so during January," said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Blood Services.
    Typically, the Southern Region has to import blood from other areas of the country, but that may not be possible at this time.
    "The bad weather throughout the country is making it nearly impossible for the Southern Region to supplement statewide decision," Edwards said.
    However, Martin said there's no reason this region should have to import blood.
    "We should be able to donate the blood people need right here," she said.
    Martin said they try to make it as convenient as possible for people to donate, citing the local drives coming up as an example of that.
    To fully support local hospitals, the Red Cross needs a three-supply of blood. Currently, some blood types, including O-positive and O-negative, are at less than one day's supply.
    "It's very difficult to find blood anywhere right now" Martin said.
    Most healthy people 17-years old or older who weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to give blood. To make an appointment, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit
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