An area blood center is in urgent need of donations.

Miller Keystone said the supplies are down about 20 percent compared to this time in previous years.

The center supplies blood to nearly 30 area hospitals.

"We've actually sent out an email and letters to our hospitals letting them know, if we don't get our blood supply up, we're going to have to have elective surgeries canceled," said Krista Hill, Community Engagement Manager.

COVID-19 has made it a particularly difficult year for blood donations.

"We haven't had any high schools we could go to, any colleges, where we could have big supplies and collect a lot of blood," Hill said.

Donations are typically lower in the summer, as people travel.

But it's also a busy time for ERs.

Brian Downs, Public Information Officer at Lehigh Valley Health Network, said the summer is often busy with traffic accidents, pool accidents, and other incidents, such as barbeques, that can lead to traumatic injuries.

On top of that, interest in elective surgeries started to resume in the middle of last year.

"So, there's even a greater need for the blood," Downs said.

On Thursday, Miller Keystone brought two blood donation vehicles to LVHN's Muhlenberg campus. There will be another drive on Wednesday, June 16 at the Hazleton campus from noon-5 p.m. LVH Cedar Crest will host a blood drive on Wednesday July 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We really need people to come out and donate blood," Hill said.

To schedule a blood donation, call 1-800-B-A-DONOR (800-223-6667) or schedule an appointment online at GIVEaPINT.org.

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