A blood shortage around the holidays is nothing new to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center.

"Typically this time of year we're low on blood supplies because of the holidays and people get sick with colds, people stop just stop donating," said Marie Clemens, the corporate director of communications with the center.

Now add a global pandemic to that mix. People do not want to venture out, and blood drives have been canceled. Clemens says they try to always keep a three-day supply on hand. Right now they have half that, and they need all blood types. However, they are especially in need of Type O, both positive and negative.

"Accidents are still going to happen, premature babies are still going to be born, people are still under going chemo for cancer, so that those things are still going steady," Clemens said.

Clemens says some changes have been made to make sure donors aren't exposed to the virus. First, walk-ins are not allowed. You must make an appointment by calling 800-be-a-donor or register online.

"Once they come in they would go up to the desk to register for their donation. They will be given a tablet to do a private medical screening," Clemens said.

Those tablets and the chairs are wiped clean after every use, and don't forget a mask. Clemens says it only takes five to 10 minutes to donate, followed by another 10 minutes to replenish. She also says if you've recovered from COVID-19 you can donate your plasma at the center. But, they really need people 16 years or older to roll up their sleeves and donate their blood.

"It's so very, very important for people to come out and donate to make sure that it's there for the next person in need," Clemens said.

You might just give the gift of life this holiday season.

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