Supplies of nearly all blood types are at critically to dangerously low levels in Imperial and San Diego counties. As of Friday, the San Diego Blood Bank had just three units of O negative, the universal blood type, and 41 units of O positive, the most common type on its shelves.
Anyone who can is urged to give Wednesday through Friday at Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, 207 W. Legion Road in Brawley. The donor center will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 1-7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until noon. Anyone who hasn't given since Nov. 15 is urged to give. Donors who gave Nov. 16 or 17 must wait until Jan. 11 or 12 to give again. First-time donors are always needed.
"We don't look forward to it but we expect these shortages after the first of the year because blood usage tends to increase over the holidays while donations dwindle because people are sick or they're just too busy to donate," said blood drive coordinator Trish Burich-McNeece. "Last year the shortage got so bad several patients in need of non-emergency blood transfusions had to wait several days for the blood to become available.