While the holidays are notorious for low blood supplies, the American Red Cross on Monday said supplies were also being pinched because of sickness this holiday season.
The Red Cross regional office in St. Louis is appealing for blood to serve 120 counties, including Boone.
Jim Williams of the American Red Cross said the regional supply is 26 percent less than it was at this time last year.
Williams said donations are being affected by the flu.
“The early hit of the flu season has crippled the blood supply, but we encourage people to come donate after they get better,” he said.
“We usually keep a three- to five-day supply, and right now we are down to one day,” Williams said. “The blood we are receiving today goes out to the hospitals tomorrow.”
The Community Blood Center in Jefferson City provides blood and its components for 11 mid-Missouri hospitals, including Boone Hospital Center in Columbia. Although the blood center is seeing a slight shortage of blood, it is not issuing an emergency appeal at this time.
“At this point we have a 2.2- to 2.5-day supply, but we like to be at a three-day supply,” said Dean Linneman, administrative director for the Community Blood Center. “We’re not quite where we want to be, but not in an emergency situation.”
The Red Cross Center, 1511 S. Providence Road, will hold extended hours for blood donations. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday; and noon to 4 p.m. Thursday. People may also donate blood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at University Hospital.
Associated Press contributed to this story.