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Memorial Blood Centers declares blood emergency, calls on donors

A long-term drop in the number of blood donors, as well as a recent surge in blood use, has led to a local and national blood shortage.

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Memorial Blood Centers in the Burning Tree Plaza in Duluth. (Jed Carlson / 2020 file / News Tribune)
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Memorial Blood Centers announced a blood emergency this week and is urgently seeking blood donations from eligible donors.

The blood supply is currently low due to a drop in donations since the pandemic started, according to the news release. Nearly 40,000 blood donors have not returned to donate blood since the pandemic started.

“There’s a nationwide shortage,” said Kathy Geist, senior executive director of Memorial Blood Centers. “We currently have only a three-day supply of blood to offer to more than 30 local hospitals. The long-term impact of the pandemic has meant we’ve had a year of virtually no high school or college first-time donors, and 41% fewer donors between the ages of 17-24.”

Memorial Blood Centers serves St. Luke's in Duluth and Two Harbors; Essentia Health locations in Northeastern Minnesota and Superior; Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet; as well as eight other hospitals in the Northland.

There's been a recent surge in blood as hospitals perform more surgeries that were postponed during the pandemic, the news release said.

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Those interested in donating can find out they're eligible and schedule an appointment by visiting mbc.org. To schedule an appointment, call 888-448-3253.

Anyone who donates blood to Memorial Blood Centers in June will be entered into daily drawing for Minnesota Twins tickets.

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