Local blood drives have been scheduled for during June.

Abbie Arneson, donor recruiter for Vitalant blood services, reports that there is a critical blood shortage. Supplies have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Shelter-in-place orders led to more than 400 blood drives cancelled since early March in this region alone, resulting in a loss of more than 9,000 uncollected blood donations. That, coupled with a resumption of surgeries and other medical procedures as stay-at-home restrictions are being lifted, has caused a 25% increase in the need for blood during the past several weeks.

Donors are strongly urged to give blood as soon as possible by going online to vitalant.org or calling 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL).

Vitalant blood services has declared a critical shortage of blood. “We strive to maintain a four-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, chief medical officer at Vitalant. “It’s absolutely vital — a matter of life or death for some—to have enough blood collected and readily available on hospital shelves when patients need it.”

The U.S. Surgeon General and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have designated blood donation as an essential activity, encouraging healthy and eligible donors to continue to donate, even amidst COVID-19 response measures. All Vitalant centers deploy strict precautionary measures to ensure the safety of donors, patients and staff.

June 1-2 — Pierre Community Blood Drive. Held at the Trinity Episcopal Church at 408 N. Jefferson in Pierre, this drive is organized by Ann Holzhauser. June 1 is from noon to 6 p.m., and June 2 is from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The contact number is 280-9364

June 15 — Fort Pierre Community Blood Drive. Held at St. John’s Catholic Church at 206 W. Main Street in Fort Pierre, this drive is organized by Sarah Maskovich. The hours are from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The contact number is 222-1909.

June 16 — Avera St. Mary’s Hospital Blood Drive. Held in the South Commons Area at 801 E. Sioux, this drive is organized by Jerrie Gosch. The hours are from 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. The contact number is 224-3139.

June 22-23 — Gettysburg Community Blood Drive. Held in the Grace Bible Church’s fellowship hall at 310 South Broadway in Gettysburg, this drive is organized by Sandy Wager. Hours on June 22 are from 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on June 23 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The contact number is 769-2488.

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