<strong><em>New effects of pandemic leading to significant drop in nation\u2019s blood supply<\/em><\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise - and deplete the nation\u2019s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types - especially type O - are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients.\r\n\r\nRight now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. In comparison to 2019, the Red Cross has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10% in 2021 - more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions.\r\n\r\nPatients need the help of the American people. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.\r\n\r\n<strong>Upcoming blood donation opportunities include:<\/strong>\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Lewisburg: June 28, 12 noon to 6 p.m., Lewisburg United Methodist Church, 214 E. Washington Street<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Union: June 19, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monroe County Public Library, 303 South Main Street<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\nDonors are urged to make an appointment to give bloodnow. As a thank-you, those who come to give\u202fnow through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at\u202fRedCrossBlood.org\/Together.)\r\n\r\nIn most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.\r\n\r\n<strong>Final weeks for COVID-19 antibody testing<\/strong>\r\n\r\nAs more than a third of Americans have become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Red Cross is winding down COVID-19 antibody testing for blood, platelet and plasma donations.\r\n\r\nThrough June 25, the Red Cross is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Testing may show possible exposure to the virus or whether a donor has developed an immune response to vaccination. The conclusion of Red Cross antibody testing represents a new, hopeful phase as the nation continues to journey out of this pandemic.\r\n\r\n<strong>Blood drive safety<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fully vaccinated individuals, including staff and donors, no longer need to wear masks or socially distance. Unvaccinated individuals continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance. Donors are\u202fasked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.