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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, December 13, 2021

Contact: Kara LeBlanc, kleblanc@ribc.org, 401.787.8686

LOCAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS CONCERNED AS BLOOD SUPPLY DROPS AGAIN TO CRITICAL LEVELS

Region has 1–2-day supply with potential for holidays, weather and the Omicron COVID-19 variant to cause further instability in donations.

Middletown, CT – Connecticut Blood Center (CTBC) announces a blood emergency, with the supply at only a 1-2 day inventory, well below the ideal inventory of 5-7 days. The concern is exacerbated by seasonal decreases in blood donations during the holidays as people travel more and are busier. Winter weather and COVID-19 variants also have the potential to further decrease donor turnout.

“Our hospitals have experienced persistent shortages since the start of the pandemic,” says Bradford Jay Sherburne, MD, Medical Director of Transfusion Services and Clinical Laboratory for Hartford Hospital. “I find myself scrutinizing every transfusion request in order to ensure that blood will be available for our sickest patients. A trauma with multiple casualties or a patient who needs surgery for an organ transplant can happen at any moment. We’re urging the community to donate at the Connecticut Blood Center because they and their family of blood centers support so many Connecticut hospitals. Many of my colleagues and I regularly donate at CTBC to do our part in making sure the community blood supply can meet the needs of all our patients.”

With help from its sister blood centers, CTBC supplies 50,000 blood products annually to over a dozen Connecticut hospitals, including Hartford Healthcare. CTBC also operates a blood products storage depot from its brand new Middletown donor center to quickly and reliably get urgent or unexpected orders to local hospitals. “We can’t do that if there isn’t enough blood on the shelves,” says Beau Tompkins, Executive Director of Connecticut Blood Center. “Donating blood is safe and easy, and there is no substitute that healthcare workers can use to care for patients. The best gift you can give to our hospitals and the patients they care for is some peace of mind that they will have the lifesaving blood they need.”

CTBC is pleased that residents now have a convenient location to help provide the blood that is needed for the community. CTBC is part of the New York Blood Center Enterprises family of nonprofit blood centers with over five decades of experience saving lives by ensuring a safe and plentiful blood supply to the patients and hospitals they serve.

Blood centers across the country are suffering from shortages that have never rebounded to safe levels for the community throughout the past 19 months of the pandemic. CTBC cites factors contributing to this alarming trend:

Donating blood at the center takes less than an hour, and the actual donation is only five to ten minutes. CTBC is taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19, and all staff are vaccinated. Donors can give regardless of vaccination status, and there is no deferral period between receiving a vaccine and giving blood as long as the donor is feeling well. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Many people think they cannot donate when they actually can! Questions about donor eligibility can be emailed to CTBC’s medical team at medicalstaff@ribc.org.

Donors can schedule appointments at ctblood.org or by calling 800-283-8385. Walk-in donors are also welcome. All presenting donors will receive a $10 gift card to Athenian Diner while supplies last.

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CONNECTICUT BLOOD CENTER (CTBC) supplies blood and blood products to patients being cared for in over a dozen Connecticut hospitals. CTBC operates a hospital services blood storage depot from our Connecticut center so we can quickly and reliably get urgent or unexpected orders to local hospitals. CTBC is operated by the Rhode Island Blood Center, a part of the New York Blood Center Enterprises family with more than five decades of experience saving lives by ensuring a safe and plentiful blood supply to the patients and hospitals we serve. CTBC is also part of the National Marrow Donor Program, registering individuals throughout New England to become lifesaving stem cell donors for patients who need a transplant to survive.

NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER ENTERPRISES/NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER
About New York Blood Center Enterprises

Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) is one of the largest nonprofit, independent, community blood centers in the world. Along with partner organizations Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), Community Blood Center of Kansas City (CBC), Connecticut Blood Center (CTBC), Memorial Blood Centers (MBC), Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), we collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve communities approaching 50 million people in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT), mid-Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD), Kansas City metropolitan area, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England. NYBCe delivers lifesaving blood products and services as well as clinical, medical, pharmaceutical, testing, and consultative services to over 600 hospitals and dozens of research organizations, academic institutions, and biomedical companies. Among other milestones, our Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute pioneered the Hepatitis B vaccine and patented a solvent detergent plasma process, innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.

RHODE ISLAND BLOOD CENTER (RIBC) was founded in 1979 as a nonprofit community blood center. For over 35 years, RIBC has been the primary supplier of blood and blood products to patients being cared for in hospitals throughout Rhode Island and in neighboring states. Our mission is to help save lives by ensuring a safe and plentiful blood supply to the patients and hospitals we serve. RIBC is also part of the National Marrow Donor Program and collects stem cells for transplant at its Providence location. RIBC provides therapeutic treatments for patients in local hospitals. Our state-of-the-art laboratory performs donor testing for over 400,000 donations per year. RIBC is also involved in various local and national research programs to improve all aspects of the blood supply. RIBC is a division of New York Blood Center, Inc. (a family of operating Divisions known as New York Blood Center Enterprises). For more information, visit ribc.org.