We’ve all been focused since March 2020 on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But there’s another health care concern that requires attention as well: the ongoing need for blood. The American Red Cross has put out the call for donors to help out at this time.

“Nearly two years into the pandemic, everyone has earned a holiday break with their family and friends. But as the nation gathers again for celebrations this season, the American Red Cross, which provides 40% of the country’s blood, is facing historically low blood supply levels. Busy holiday schedules, breaks from school and winter weather all contribute to a drop in blood and platelet donations this time of year. Those factors, combined with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, make it vital for donors to make an appointment to give as soon as possible. If more donors don’t come forward to give blood, some patients requiring a transfusion may potentially face delays in care,” according to a news item published Dec. 16 by the Watertown Daily Times. “Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster so long as they are symptom-free. To encourage donors to help address the historically low blood supply this holiday season, all who come to give until Jan. 2, 2022 will receive an exclusive Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last. … Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.”

Blood drives are now being held throughout Northern New York. Visit http://wdt.me/tx8KAZ to find one in your area.

We offer our deep gratitude to everyone who donated blood during the pandemic. Many drives were held, and people risked their well-being in leaving their homes and donating blood at one of the sites. Their dedication to keeping this service going through a health care crisis is commendable, and this reflects well on north country residents.

But blood isn’t the only thing needed by the American Red Cross. The organization could always use financial donations to help make ends meet.

More than a week ago, a series of strong storms hit six states in the Midwest and South. Four tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, leaving at least 70 people dead and many injured. Storms also struck Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

This is where the American Red Cross comes in. Staff members and volunteers respond to natural disasters to offer whatever assistance is available. Visit http://wdt.me/ShdXdB to make a financial contribution.

The American Red Cross also could use your time. The group reports that 90% of its workforce are volunteers. Visit http://wdt.me/CsvMtq to review opportunities to help out.

We never know when we’ll need blood or help in an emergency. This holiday season, let’s be mindful of those who rely on the American Red Cross for it important services.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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