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New York Blood Center Says Donations Can Be Made At Pop-Up Mall Sites On Long Island

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The Tri-State Area has a dangerously low supply of blood on hand for area hospitals. Donors are desperately needed and hard to find. But you now can give blood at some local malls. CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports.

Video Transcript

- With many blood drives canceled because of the pandemic, the tri-state area is dealing with a big blood shortage.

- Now, donations are being sought at some local malls. CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reports.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: They're shouting it from billboards, this one in Long Island City. New York has a blood emergency.

TINA KOVOLISKY: We're truly seeing just a drop off of people donating blood, and we really need them to come out and donate.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: The tri-state area blood supply is down to four to five days, one to two days for Type O and B. A minimum seven days' supply is needed. The pandemic slowed down the flow of 1,500 donations a day, with canceled school and office blood drives. So the New York Blood Center is now hitting the malls that offered up space, opening pop-up sites. This one at Westfield Mall in Bay Shore. Others at Smith Haven Mall and Tanger Outlets.

DOREEN FISCINIA: It's a constant flow of traffic, and it's different people every day.

TOM CILMI: People that do impulse buys when they're at the supermarket, or sometimes at the mall or whatever, now somebody can be walking by-- ah, I have an extra half an hour, and give blood.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: A life-saving decision that Tom Cilmi makes every 60 days. Robert Myers is also a regular. He found a way to give blood all through the pandemic.

ROBERT MYERS: I found out that because of one donation, I actually saved someone's life. They critically needed that donation due to an accident.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: While the pandemic temporarily shut down elective surgery, blood usage is back up above pre-pandemic levels, indicating all those delayed surgeries are back. Donated blood has a short shelf life, and cannot be saved for months.

TINA KOVOLISKY: That's the end of it. We need people to donate on a regular basis.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Easy and essential.

- There aren't many opportunities that we get to save lives, you know, in this world.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Blood center officials say they do not take the pronouncement of a blood emergency lightly. There is criteria that has been met. They are hoping these mall pop-ups quickly reverse the trend. In Bay Shore, Long Island, Carolyn Gusoff, CBS 2 News.