Critical shortage of type O negative blood.

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the area's exclusive provider of blood and plasma products to patients at over 40 area hospitals, is experiencing a critical shortage of type O negative blood. 

The severe winter weather and lower than expected turnout at blood drives over the past several weeks have reduced O negative reserves to very low levels.  Donations are needed immediately to ensure that adequate reserve levels are maintained.

"The winter is always a challenging season in terms of blood donations," CBCO Executive Director Anthony Roberts says. "We've been unfortunate with some of the weather we've been having lately. It's also been a very severe cold and flu season, which has hampered donations. If you are feeling well and healthy, please consider helping us increase these blood reserve levels at your next opportunity."

On average, a transfusion takes place every seven minutes and around 200 donations are needed each day to meet the area’s blood needs.

Community members can help by giving blood at CBCO blood drives in Rolla:

— Thursday, Feb. 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Rolla Technical Center located at 500 Forum Drive. 

— Friday, Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mercy Rolla located at 1605 S. Martin Springs Drive.

During the month of February, donors will receive a blue "Rewind" t-shirt; a retro look back on your favorite cassette mix tapes of the past.

Each donation will be awarded LifePoints as a part of CBCO’s donor rewards program. LifePoints may be redeemed online for a variety of gift cards, or points may be assigned to other meaningful causes or charities. More information on the LifePoints donor rewards program may be found at www.cbco.org.

To be eligible to give blood, you must weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and present a valid photo ID.