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MARSHALL – Earlier this summer, the American Red Cross called on Americans to donate blood and help cope with a nationwide shortage. A few months later, the need is still strong.
“The Red Cross continues to see a critical need for blood”, said Sue Thesenga, regional communications manager for the Minnesota Red Cross and the Dakota region. Factors like an increased need for blood in hospitals mean it’s still important to donate.
In recent months, there has been a 12% increase in the amount of blood products going to hospitals compared to last year, Thesenga said. Although there are a variety of factors affecting the blood shortage, Thesenga said one important factor is that hospitals have started to perform more surgeries again, a year after COVID-19 suspended many medical procedures.
Residents of the Marshall area will have several opportunities to register for a blood donation appointment in the coming weeks. According to the American Red Cross Blood Services website, several blood drives are planned in Marshall, as well as other communities in the area.
On Wednesday, donors came regularly for blood drive appointments at the Red Baron Arena. The drive was sponsored by the Marshall High School Girls’ Hockey Team, and female hockey players volunteered to help check people in at the gate and get water and snacks for donors.
The girls had wanted to do a project that took them out into the community, Tonya Ormberg said. Blood collection “Worked perfectly” she said.
Other upcoming local blood drives include drives at the Marshall-Lyon County Library this afternoon and drives at places such as Marshall’s First Lutheran Church and the Lyon County Government Center in September.
Thesenga said COVID-19 has changed some blood collection procedures. People must now register in advance for an appointment to donate blood, she said.
“We make appointments for the safety of our donors and our staff”, to avoid overcrowding, she said. The change also had other benefits – the Red Cross has a better idea of the number of staff and the amount of supplies needed for each blood drive.
Blood donors may still be able to donate without an appointment, if another blood donor’s appointment has been canceled, Thesenga said. However, the best way to make sure you can donate is to make an appointment. Donors can visit www.redcrossblood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or download the Red Cross Blood Donor Phone App to learn more about local blood drives.
Upcoming Marshall blood drives:
Thursday August 26: Marshall-Lyon County Library
September 7: First Lutheran Church in Marshall
September 13: First Lutheran Church in Marshall
Sept. 14: Cie de Lyon government center
September 15: St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
Sep 21: KB’s Bar and Grill in Ghent
September 24: Marshall Fire Department