The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center from San Antonio has scheduled four blood donation drives in Kerrville in April.

Call (210) 731-5590 for an appointment to make a donation.

The STB&TC has scheduled a blood donation drives at Kerrville locations on April 1, 2, 10 and 12.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to remain home and to contact his or her physician.

For appointments to make blood donations, call South Texas Blood and Tissue Center in San Antonio; or visit www.southtexasblood.org.

•    April 1 (Thursday), 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Kerr County Community Blood Drive, in the Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 Hwy. 27;

•    April 2, (Friday) 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Peterson Regional Medical Center, 551 Hill Country Dr., in Classroom A;

•    April 10, (Saturday) 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Hill Country Arts Foundation, 120 Point Theater Rd. South, Ingram;

•    April 12, (Monday) 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Prime Metal Buildings, 854 Harper Rd.

Roger Ruiz of the STB&TC said the local blood supply is not keeping up with the needs of patients, as COVID-19 has overwhelmed the traditional donor recruitment system here and across the country.

Other blood centers have stepped in to try to help, centers in Florida and Oklahoma, for example, where they extended their hours and asked donors to give blood to share with Texas.

The pandemic has created a public health crisis, he said.

In South Texas, there will be 1,000 or less blood drives in 2021 than in 2019 or 2020, representing almost half of all the drives and tens of thousands of lost donations. Businesses adopting remote work schedules and virtual classes at schools and colleges are driving the cancellations, Ruiz said.

Many hospitals are running with only one-third to half of the Type-O blood needed.

“The lack of a reliable blood supply puts trauma patients at risk and threatens hospitals’ ability to schedule surgeries, even transplants,” Ruiz said. “But the largest need for blood is other treatments, for example, cancer patients who need blood transfusions during chemotherapy. All of us know friends, family or employees fighting cancer. Many have had treatments delayed while they wait for blood.

Because blood supplies are crippled nationwide, bringing in blood from other blood centers is not a reliable option.

“Every day we get dozens of requests for help from other communities desperate to find blood,” he said.

For information, visit the STBTC website at www.southtexasblood.org.

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