FARMINGTON, Conn. - The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donations to prevent another blood shortage as hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate in the weeks and months ahead by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

In recent weeks, hospital demand for blood products has grown by 30 percent after sharply declining in early April amid this rapidly changing and complex public health crisis. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled as many businesses and community organizations remain closed. Donors are needed to make and keep scheduled appointments to help meet the current need.

All those who donate through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via e-mail (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together).

“Blood donors have played a vital role in the lives of patients who have needed lifesaving transfusions during this pandemic, and patients continue to depend on donors each and every day,” said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “The Red Cross appreciates the support of those who rolled up a sleeve to give in recent months, but the need doesn’t stop. We need the public’s help to avoid another blood shortage this summer.”

Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, from a transfusion.

The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at RedCrossBlood.org. At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub. These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.

Upcoming local blood drives

July 14

Mystic Hilton, 20 Coogan Blvd. in Mystic, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

July 16

Groton City Municipal Building, 295 Meridian St. Ext. in Groton, 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.

July 17

Deans Mill Elementary School, 35 Deans Mill Rd. in Stonington, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

July 22

Hilton Garden Inn, 224 Gold Star Hwy. in Groton, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

July 24

Waterford Town Hall, 15 Rope Ferry Rd. in Waterford, 12:30 to 6:15 p.m.

July 28

Hugo A. Simonelli VFW Post 3263, 60 Stonington Rd. in Mystic, 12:30 to 6:15 p.m.

July 30

Grace Fellowship Evangelical Free Church, 102 Providence-New London Turnpike Route 184/Gold Star Hwy. in North Stonington, 1 to 6 p.m.

July 31

Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa, 625 North Rd. in Groton, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Connecticut Media Group