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Need for blood donations greater than ever after tornado outbreak, doctor says

Local blood supplies were already low due to a drop in giving during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the need has grown since the deadly storms.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When a crisis strikes, people begin looking for ways to help their neighbors. One way to do that is to give blood.

UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith said the deadly tornado outbreak in western and central Kentucky has significantly drained local blood stores at a time when donations were already low due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't think we've actually had a greater need any time in the United States, the Commonwealth and within Louisville," Dr. Smith said.

He said UofL Health has been in contact with health care organizations in western Kentucky to help them restore life-saving services, but they need the public to help them meet these needs.

RELATED: Louisville communities step up to help western Kentucky tornado victims

Gov. Andy Beshear also shared the importance of giving blood as a way to support these hurting communities. He organized a blood drive at the state capitol Friday, and he said appointments filled up almost immediately.

"We are resilient and we are there for reach other - and that thas been on full display," he said.

If you want to give blood, appointments can be made through the Red Cross app, the Red Cross website or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

To donate blood, you will need to bring a blood donor card, driver's license or two other forms of identification. You must be at least 17 years old and meet weight and health requirements. 

More information on donor eligibility can be found on the American Red Cross website.

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