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LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – The University of Colorado Health System says their blood bank donations are down. In fact, they say it’s one of the worst years they’ve seen.
There are a number of factors as to why the number of blood donations is lower this year. One factor is the widespread cases of influenza this flu season. The flu has affected hundreds of Coloradans, meaning there just aren’t as many people who are able to donate.
“I come in once every 28 days to donate,” a donor told CBS4.
It was a welcome sight at the Blood Donation Center inside Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland — patient after patient waiting to donate when the center is running extremely low on blood.
“We are in critical mode right now … for all of our blood types,” said Gail Fogo, a phlebotomist at the center.
Fogo said their donation numbers usually slump during the holidays, but usually rebound. Not this year.
“We’ve been low for quite some time, for several months, but the critical need has happened in the last several weeks,” she said.
The reason is hard to pinpoint, but Fogo said the flu is definitely a factor.
“Yes, it does take a toll on our donor numbers,” she said. “They can’t come in and donate. They have to wait three days after their last symptoms are through to make sure that’s all clear out of their body.”
The hospital has been getting the word out and it’s helping.
“I give about three, four times a year; as often as I think about it,” donor Michael Sieg said. “It had been a couple months from my last time giving.”
Sieg stopped in to donate after hearing about the shortage.
“I just think it’s one of those things you can do to help your community,” he said.
“If they’re willing to give it a try, we’re willing to help them through the process,” Fogo said.
The University of Colorado Health System said they are still in need of blood. The entire system goes through about 12,000 units of blood a year.
The Bonfils Blood Center, which provides 80 percent of the blood in Colorado, said they are not experiencing a shortage, but say they’re always looking for people to donate blood.