Jun. 20—Community Blood Center of the Ozarks on Monday issued a critical appeal for all blood types, citing low blood reserves that have left the organization with less than a two-day supply available.
The Springfield-based center is the exclusive supplier of blood, platelets and plasma to patients at 44 area health care facilities, including Joplin's hospitals. Officials in a Monday statement urged donors to give immediately, noting that a shortage of blood is different from the nationwide shortages of toilet paper and other goods that have plagued the country since the pandemic began.
"While people are used to having to find alternatives to products that are in short supply, we cannot do the same with blood. There is no alternative," said Anthony Roberts, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks executive director, in a statement. "The great news is that there is a plentiful supply of blood in our area. We just need people to share it."
Roberts said much of the current shortage has to do with the time of the year and lingering effects of the pandemic.
"We are in the time of year where we lose the opportunity to work with schools and colleges, so we have to count on other groups to help support the blood supply during the summer," Roberts said. "We are also seeing many businesses calling employees back from working at home but not yet allowing blood drives at their facilities. Most people are willing to donate when there's a convenient opportunity whether at work, church or school, but those opportunities aren't as plentiful as in the pre-pandemic world."
Donors can give at a Community Blood Center of the Ozarks donation site. The Joplin location is in Northpark Mall, 101 N. Range Line Road. Hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.
Other donation sites are in Springfield, and in Springdale and Bentonville in Northeast Arkansas.
Appointments are encouraged by calling 417-227-5006 or going online to www.cbco.org/donate-blood.