‘Significant’ blood shortage in Chattanooga area after Labor Day

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Bags of blood donations sit in a cooler on June 25, 2022 at Blood Assurance.

The sole blood supplier for hospitals in the greater Chattanooga area was down to a one-day supply of the crucial O-negative and O-positive blood types, as well as B-positive blood, as of Tuesday morning, according to a news release from Blood Assurance.

Officials from Blood Assurance said in the release that the nonprofit community blood center is experiencing a "significant blood supply shortage after multiple traumas over Labor Day weekend," urging local residents to give blood if they're able.

In addition to needing O-negative, O-positive blood types and B-positive blood types, A-positive and A-negative blood are also in high demand, according to the release.

"This was an extremely busy weekend for hospitals across the region," Christopher Swafford, chief operations officer for Blood Assurance, said in the release. "It's vital that we all step up, roll up a sleeve and help replenish the supply, which will result in lives being saved."

(READ MORE: Signal Mountain man who donated over 70 gallons of blood says 'life is precious')

Blood Assurance is offering a free T-shirt that commemorates the upcoming Sept. 11 anniversary to its donors through the end of the month. The shirt pays homage to the tens of thousands of people who donated blood following the attacks, according to the release.

Donors can schedule an appointment online at www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, by calling 800-962-0628 or by texting BAGIVE to 999777. Walk-ins are also always accepted.

Donors must be in good health, weigh 110 pounds minimum and be at least 17 years old -- or 16 with parental consent -- to donate blood. Donors should drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine, and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating, according to the release.

-- Compiled by Elizabeth Fite