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The American Red Cross continues to address an ongoing emergency blood shortage, and donors are urged to donate to "combat the lowest blood supply levels at this time of year in more than a decade," states a release.

According to the CDC, flu cases reached an all-time low last year due to masking, physical distancing and shutdowns across the country, and many Americans may now have reduced immunity this year.

"When seasonal illness increases, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease. Paired with winter weather, busy holiday schedules and ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the already-struggling blood supply could be further impacted throughout winter," states the release.

There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster, so long as they are symptom-free. Donors are urged to schedule an appointment using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling (800) RED CROSS (733-2767).

In Clay County, there are two coming blood drives. One is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, in the Gladstone Community Center, 6901 N. Holmes St. The other is 10 a.m. to  3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Harrah's North Kansas City Resort and Casino, 1 Riverboat Drive.

"Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control and additional precautions  including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive," states the release.

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