NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Blood Services is partnering with the WeLoveU Foundation and South Amboy YMCA to host a blood drive Sunday, Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The drive takes place at the South Amboy YMCA at 200 John T. O’Leary Boulevard in South Amboy.

The drive is being held as blood and blood product supplies in our state and region have slipped to extremely low levels due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent inclement winter weather. Access to blood for transfusion is critical to hospitals’ ability to treat urgent and planned surgical procedures and chronic illnesses, according to a press release from the hospital.

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RWJUH Blood Services urges everyone to donate blood or other blood products such as platelets and plasma if they are able. All blood types are needed, but Type O blood is particularly in short supply at the present time.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the nation, International WeLoveU Foundation volunteers from across the U.S. pledge to lead their communities to donate blood safely.

There have been more than 50,000 canceled blood drives in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. With government shutdowns across the country, blood centers saw a dramatic drop in voluntary donations.

Typically, RWJUH Blood Services would conduct multiple blood drives throughout the year at community organizations, high schools and colleges to combat annual blood shortages that occur during winter months. The current pandemic has severely limited the number of drives scheduled this year. In addition, many organizations continue to have their staff work from home, limiting the number of businesses and community-based organizations that can sponsor blood drives.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. This means 4.5 million Americans need a blood transfusion annually — and meeting the demand now has been even more challenging. Blood donations are lifelines to patients who need blood for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, including cancer patients who need blood transfusions, car accident victims, and patients in emergencies.

Please call 732-235-8100, ext. 221, ext. 222, or ext. 248 or go online to www.rwjuhdonorclub.org to schedule an appointment to donate. If your organization would like to host a blood drive, please contact Sally Wells at 732-558-4983 or sally.wells@rwjbh.org.

RWJUH Blood Services has rigorous safety protocols in place to protect all donors. These include temperature checks, required face coverings, and socially distanced seating in waiting areas and donation spaces at the blood drive. Strict sanitary protocols are in place, including disinfection of donor areas after each use. Everyone at the donation site must wear face masks.