Carter BloodCare is experiencing a “critically low” blood supply in East Texas and elsewhere within its region, which also covers parts of North and Central Texas. Carter announced 500 more donations of all blood types are needed each day to avoid delays in critical healthcare services.
The COVID-19 shutdown caused a 40% drop in blood drives around East Texas this year. Blood drives at high schools, which usually account for 25 to 30% of donations, were canceled during school shutdowns in the spring. Some schools have not resumed blood drives, though high schools in Slocum, Elkhart and Palestine have hosted drives since August.
The blood supply in western states has also been strained, as many blood drives have been cancelled due to wildfires and evacuations.
Meantime, hospital demand for blood products remains strong, due to need for regular blood transfusions and resumption of normal surgery schedules. Healthcare facilities often provide transfusions to patients during cancer treatments, complex heart surgeries, childbirth complications, and after traumatic accidents.
Some people with chronic conditions require regular transfusions in order to live. Patients with sickle cell disease, for example, need one transfusion per month their entire lives.
"The fluctuation of the community blood supply and a strong hospital demand have created a critically low and unstable situation," said Clinton McCoy, director of operations for Carter BloodCare in East Texas.
Though some Palestine organizations hosted blood drives in August and September, the organization’s schedule shows few drives occurring locally this fall.
“Carter BloodCare would welcome the opportunity to come out to the [Palestine] area more frequently in November,” said Linda Goelzer, Carter’s public relations director. “We also encourage businesses, civic clubs and any group that is able to host a blood drive for us.”
Goelzer advises organizations to email BookABloodDrive@carterbloodcare.org to get started.
Carter offers a recurring blood drive every other Monday at Tractor Supply parking lot in Palestine. Upcoming dates are 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 1 and Nov. 15. All donations receive a COVID-19 antibody test.
Another option is to visit Carter’s Tyler Donor Center at 815 Baxter Ave., is one of 26 centers in the region. The Tyler center accepts donations six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Call 903- 363-0400 to ask about hours or set up an appointment.
Call or text (800) 366-2834 or visit www.carterbloodcare.org to make an appointment to donate.