“There are simply not enough donations coming in or mobile blood drives on the schedule to keep pace with the increase of local patient needs,” CBCO Executive Director Anthony Roberts said.  

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the sole supplier of blood and plasma to patients at more than 40 area healthcare facilities, is making a plea for anyone who is eligible to donate blood to do so. 

“There are simply not enough donations coming in or mobile blood drives on the schedule to keep pace with the increase of local patient needs,” CBCO Executive Director Anthony Roberts said. “While we have been able to maintain stock levels at our hospitals, our reserves on our shelves are below a comfortable level and we need the help of our generous community donors who always step up in times of need.”

Since the COVID-19 shutdown in March, more than 280 blood drives have been cancelled in the CBCO service region, resulting in more than 9,000 potential blood donations being lost. As a result, CBCO is in a critical appeal for all blood types.

Blood usage for patients in area hospitals has returned to near normal levels, while area donations have not been able to keep pace, according to Roberts. Multiple mobile blood drive cancellations are still occurring. The downturn in donation rates means that reserve levels have not been able to recover. And with the uncertainty of school or college blood drives for the fall and spring, the future of the community blood supply will be heavily dependent on first-time donors and community donors giving more frequently.

“This is a very challenging time for blood centers across the U.S., and Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is no exception,” Roberts said. “As we try to navigate the way forward, we are asking area blood donors to support the only blood service that supplies all of our area hospitals. In return, we promise to fulfill area needs in a way that meets our mission standards; a healthy blood supply, delivered in a timely manner, with an unwavering emphasis on remaining accountable to the patients we serve.”

Donors who give at a CBCO donor center or mobile blood drive will receive a five-dollar gift card redeemable through CBCO’s LifePoints Local online store. They will also receive a colorful T-shirt.

Although many mobile blood drives within the CBCO service region have been canceled or postponed, some community-based drives are still planned in the coming weeks. These drives are critical in helping to keep inventory levels at sufficient levels. To find a listing of those blood drives, log on to www.cbco.org/donate-blood. Appointments are strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing guidelines and improve the donation experience. Masks are required for all donors and staff. Those who do not have a mask, will have one provided.