Red Cross says weather is to blame for lower blood supply - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Red Cross says winter weather is to blame for lower blood supply

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FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

The cold, wintry weather is causing a widespread blood shortage. American Red Cross officials said donations are down across the country including in Connecticut.

Blood banks were already dangerously low and officials said Tuesday's storm is making things even worse.

Eyewitness News attended a blood drive at Tunxis Community College in Farmington on Tuesday.

The blood drive started at 10 a.m. and it's been slow with few donors. The Red Cross officials said the goal for this particular drive is to get 48 donors.

However, because of the snow they only have 24 appointments, which means they'll only get half the amount of the blood they need.

"I have O positive blood, so a lot of people are able to have it," said Sarah Levins, who is a physical therapy student. "So whenever I have the ability to do it. I do it."

Levins was one of only a few people donating blood at the Tunxis Community College blood drive. She said she didn't know about the shortage, but decided to donate when she saw the signs in the school cafeteria.

"I did it in high school so I decided to do it now," Levins said.

Tunxis Community College was closed by school officials, which meant the blood drive had to shut down around noon.

Red Cross officials said blood drives have been canceled due to the snow throughout the winter. Because of those cancellations, blood banks are at dangerously low supply levels.

"We've lost a lot of blood since the beginning of the year," said Tyler Olson, of Red Cross. "We've had to cancel over 20 blood drives in Connecticut, resulting in about 750 blood and platelet donations."

The amount of blood lost in Connecticut alone could have helped save 15,000 lives, which is why blood drives like this are so important.

The shortage extends across the entire United States. In the past two months, the Red Cross has canceled more than 1,000 blood drives because of the snow.

Hartford Hospital officials said there has been no impact on elective surgeries and its shelves are stocked with an adequate supply of blood.

Levins said she's glad to help out.

"Hopefully other people are going to be here, too, and donate as well," Levins said 

There were also six other blood drives happening on Tuesday that could be in jeopardy depending on the weather. As of noon, none of those were canceled. Red Cross officials said they'll have to keep a close eye on the weather.

If you want give blood, the Red Cross is asking for donations. To find a blood drive in your area, click here.

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