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Tomah Health seeking blood donors

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The winter weather, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has health care officials in Tomah asking the public to help with an urgent need for blood.

To help meet the need, Tomah Health and Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin are holding a two-day blood drive Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 from noon to 5 p.m. at Tomah’s Recreation Park, 1625 Butts Ave., Tomah.

“The winter weather has a significant impact on the blood supply in our communities,” said Versiti Blood Center account representative Emalea Cogdill. “During the coming weeks, we urgently need the donors that provide life-saving blood products to their community hospitals to step up. When harsh weather hits, we can’t wait for it to subside to provide life-saving donations.”

Versiti supplies blood to 50 hospitals in Wisconsin, including Tomah Health.

She said collecting and maintaining a stable blood supply has been a challenge since the beginning of COVID.

“The weather and the ongoing pandemic have truly tested the blood that we can provide to our community hospitals,” Cogdill said.

She said to maintain a three-day supply of lifesaving blood, Versiti needs on average 10,500 donors per week across the organization.

The blood drives are being held at Tomah’s Recreation Park due to continued COVID-19 visitor restrictions at Tomah Health.

“We continue to be thankful to Tomah Parks & Recreation director Joe Protz and his staff for use of Recreation Park for our drives,” said Tomah Health marketing & public relations director Eric Prise. He said donors are encouraged to register for a donation time at tomahhealth.org.

To donate blood, a person must be in good health, at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and have photo identification. Sixteen-year-olds may also donate with parental consent.

While the process for whole blood donation usually takes about one hour, officials say the blood collection itself is usually about 10 minutes.

Prise said the January drives kick off the 2022 blood donation calendar for Tomah Health.

“Donating blood is a great new year’s resolution so now is the time to step up and donate,,” Prise said.

He added that six, two-day drives have already been scheduled throughout the year as part of the continued partnership between Tomah Health and Versiti.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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