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Bellone encourages residents to donate during blood shortage

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stressed on Monday for residents to donate blood after the New York Blood Center declared a blood emergency in the New York metropolitan area.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of people waiting for a life-saving blood transfusion that could be the difference between life and death,” Mr. Bellone said in a press release.

Andrea Cefarelli, executive director of the NYBC, said the blood type O-negative, which is universal, is of greatest need. The current reserve is below a two-day supply, she said.

Donated blood can take 48 hours to reach those who need it, according to Legislator William Spencer (D-Centerport), which makes it critical for hospitals to have enough supply in advance.

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 75 who weighs a minimum of 110 pounds and is in good health is eligible to donate blood. Nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone, according to the NYBC, and about one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion.

Blood is in constant need in hospitals everywhere, since it is a key part of most surgeries and other medical procedures.

In summer months, blood centers typically see fewer donations, which is why they have to focus on building up the supply, according to a press release. The NYBC strives to maintain a seven-day inventory of all types of blood that must be continually replenished.

Any company, organization or individual can host its own blood drive, and the NYBC can provide assistance.

The Southold Fire Department was recently honored for the second straight year with the Terry Farrell Award, which is given to the department that collected the most blood donations on Long Island.

Blood drives are scheduled throughout Suffolk County this summer.

A few upcoming blood drive locations include:

• July 10: Flanders Fire Department, 2-8 p.m.

• July 11: Riverhead Town Senior Center, 2-8 p.m.

• July 11: Wading River Fire Department, 3-9 p.m.

• July 17: Tanger Outlet Center food court, 2-8 p.m.

• Aug. 7: PBMC, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

• Aug. 8: Mattituck-Laurel Library, 1-7 p.m.

• Aug. 16: Southold Fire Department, 2:15-8:15 p.m.

• Aug. 20: North Shore United Methodist Church, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

• Aug. 24: Riverhead Free Library, 1-7 p.m.

For more information on blood drives and locations to donate, visit nybloodcenter.org.