FARMINGTON, Conn. - The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges eligible donors to give now to help patients facing trauma and other life-threatening situations. As a thank-you for helping replenish the blood supply, all donors who come to give blood or platelets now through June 10 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms, where it can be most critical. That means just six units of type O blood are available for every 100,000 people, but at least 14 are needed every day. While just 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and is also critical in trauma situations.

"All blood types are urgently needed, but we’re facing a critical shortage of type O blood – the blood group most needed by hospitals," said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. "Because it’s vitally important for hospitals to have type O blood available when every second counts, type O donors are urged to donate now and make a point to donate often."

The Red Cross collected approximately 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. Spring break schedules are known to decrease blood donations, and schools, including high schools and colleges, begin to host fewer blood drives in late spring as school years end. Because these drives account for about 20 percent of blood donations during the school year, less drives can also greatly affect the blood supply.

May 28

Holiday Inn, 35 Governor Winthrop Blvd. in New London, 1 to 6 p.m.

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

June 6

Hoxie Firehouse, 34 Broadway Ave. in Mystic, 11 a.m. to 4 :30 p.m.

June 7

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

June 11

St. David’s Episcopal Church, 284 Stoddard Wharf Rd. in Gales Ferry, 1 to 6 p.m.

June 14

Dealertrack, 115 Poheganut Dr. in Groton, 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

St. Agnes Church, 22 Haigh Ave. in Niantic, 1 to 6 p.m.

Connecticut Media Group