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Coffee Memorial Blood Center experiencing blood supply shortages, donations needed

Updated: May. 7, 2020 at 5:47 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Blood centers nationwide are experiencing a blood supply shortage, especially those here in the Texas Panhandle.

Local lawmakers met today at Coffee Memorial Blood Center to help spread the importance of donating to the community.

“With the COVID crisis, donations are down but the need is not down,” said State Sen. Kel Seliger. “We still have accidents, some surgeries still have to be performed, and today, they need 125 pints a day, and tomorrow, they’re going to need 125 pints a day. Somebody, if they don’t get blood, is going to die and unnecessarily. That’s what we’re protecting against.”

Most of the blood donations for Coffee Memorial come from mobile blood drives, but they have been unable to offer these as frequently.

“Coffee Memorial serves 31 counties and 29 medical facilities, and we do that mainly through mobile blood drives,” said Suzanne Talley, executive director for Coffee Memorial Blood Center. “We draw about 125 units a day to meet the needs of our area. 70 percent of that comes from on location drives. Businesses working from home, churches online, schools online, we have no where to go.”

With regular medical procedures returning, the blood usage will continue to go up.

“As the governor has allowed medical facilities to gear back up with some of the regular procedures, elective surgeries and so forth, that blood usage is going to start going back up, and our donations are not,” said Talley.

In the midst of a pandemic, there is a crisis happening locally, where blood is needed in order to help people survive.

“People forget sometimes, in these times, that the virus affects a lot of areas, and one of those has been blood donations,” said State Rep. John Smithee. “The need for blood donations doesn’t stop, and so there’s a shortage right now. We’re just trying to do what we can to help them recover from this shortage and be able to provide the blood they need to help the people they need of the Texas Panhandle.”

State Rep. Four Price encourages people to donate blood to Coffee Memorial and reassures it is safe process, even during the pandemic.

“People can still donate,” said Representative Price. “They should donate blood. It’s really important to our entire Panhandle region, and it’s safe to do so. This is part of the effort to get that message out.”

You can donate by setting up an appointment with Coffee Memorial Blood Center located at 7500 Wallace Blvd. Suite 2149 Amarillo, TX 79124.

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