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Kentucky facing blood donor shortage, many factors cited including COVID-19

Blood center hoping to entice with another contest
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Posted at 5:37 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 18:21:48-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the last 50 years, Mary Lu Musick has been donating blood three times a year.

“You just put it on your schedule, spend an hour and a half in here, and you’ve done something good,” she said after making her latest donation on Wednesday at the Kentucky Blood Center.

KBC officials are concerned because their supply is running about 66% below average.

“There’s a national shortage right now, so throughout the summer, if not this entire year, we’ve been working with a half-day supply of blood, and we like to work with a three-day supply,” said KBC Brand Manager Cathryn Papasodora. She adds that blood types of all kinds are needed at this time.

Papasodora said many factors are driving this shortage, and most have something to do with COVID-19.

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“Because the restrictions and everything are lifting, more elective surgeries are being scheduled, and when those are scheduled they need more blood” Papasodora explained.

She said they’re doing their best to accommodate the needs of all the hospitals they partner with, but at this time cannot always fulfill every request. Sometimes they’ll need to import blood to fill in the gaps.

KBC is also hoping another car giveaway will entice donors. Between May 24 and July 5, a contest generated about 10,000 donors. Anyone who has, or will donate between July 5 and September 11, will automatically be entered into the next contest.

May Lu doesn’t need such incentives but joked that she wouldn’t turn it down if her name was pulled out of the hat. And even if that never happens, she’ll still be here about three times each year.

“Because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.