Readers Write: Come together to conquer blood supply shortage

The Island Now

In recent weeks, the Delta variant of the coronavirus has impacted many aspects of our society and our regional blood supply has been especially hard hit.

According to the New York Blood Center, the stockpile of available blood has decreased from five days to a two- to three-day supply. Type O blood, which has dwindled to a one- to two-day stock, is especially scarce.

Faced with these conditions, NYBC recently declared a blood emergency to address this critical need – one that is expected to persist amidst the postponement of many planned school, office, and community blood drives this fall. However, if we step up now, we can do our part to replenish and maintain our regional blood supply.

As I recently experienced at the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department’s drive on Aug. 12, donating blood remains a safe, carefully monitored activity, and NYBC’s staff are closely following strict precautions to protect staff and donors from COVID-19.

Eligible donors must have an ID with a signature or a photo, weigh at least 110 pounds, have had no tattoos in the last 12 months and be ages 16-75 years of age (16-year-old donors must have parental consent. Donors over age 76 must bring a doctor’s note.)

In compliance with COVID-19 prevention directives, donors must wear a face mask or covering; have their temperature taken before donating; and must be 14 days symptom-free if they have recovered from COVID-19. Individuals who are currently observing self-quarantine restrictions or have tested positive for COVID-19 or experienced symptoms in the last 14 days are not eligible to donate at this time.

At a time when the need is so great, I encourage everyone who is eligible to roll up our sleeves and give the gift of life. Visit to schedule a time to donate, or call 1-800-933-BLOOD (25663).

Ellen W. Birnbaum
Nassau County Legislator, LD 10
Great Neck

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