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Health Watch: Fairbanks Blood Bank seeks donations after winter storm

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 4:19 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After a winter storm that blasted much of the state, several locations were forced to close for a number of days, including the Fairbanks Blood Bank of Alaska.

According to Brandon Campbell, Manager of the Fairbanks Blood Bank of Alaska, the blood bank closed for several days during the storm due to safety concerns for both staff and donors.

“We had to close for a couple of days last week for the storm that came through,” Campbell explained. “Alaska has seen that all around the state. I know some of southern Alaska is dealing with that same storm right now. But Fairbanks specifically, we dealt with that, we had to close for a couple of days, we had to close early a day for the safety of our staff and donors - and that affects us because we can’t get our normal allotted donations that we should be getting during this time. It’s not because donors aren’t willing to come in, it’s just because it’s unsafe for them to do so.”

This closure has led to less donations than what is typical for the blood bank for this time of year, which can impact the state as a whole.

“Fairbanks is a key place to get units of blood delivered to Anchorage so they can deliver it throughout the state,” Campbell elaborated. “So shutting down the center affected the units that we get, and that in turn affects Alaska because we can’t get all the units that we provide to Anchorage. We’re not in an emergency shortage or anything, but we are a key center as far as being able to collect blood and deliver it to Anchorage.”

And while all blood is welcome, according to Campbell, O+ and O- are the most needed types the blood bank is seeking. “O- blood is the universal donor, essentially anyone can receive that blood type. So that’s important, especially rural communities that only have limited quantities that they can hold. Typically they try to hold on to O- blood, and the reason is because they can give it to anyone. Then larger communities such as Fairbanks and Anchorage, we try to hold onto all blood types because we know we have more of an ability to distribute them because we have larger hospital systems and things like that.”

More information of blood donations can be found on the Blood Bank of Alaska website.

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