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The American Red Cross is approaching "an emergency situation" as blood donations continue to fall short of demand.

Steve Mavica, a spokesman for the Red Cross region that includes York County, said donations typically slow down during the months of June and July.

But it's been particularly bad this year because July 4 fell on a Friday, which reduced the number of sponsored blood drives, he said.

"It's just been continuing to go down. And, unfortunately, if that decline continues, and that shortfall would get significant enough, we are very close to being into an emergency situation in the coming weeks," Mavica said.

York County is part of a Red Cross chapter that covers southern Pennsylvania, Maryland and northern Virginia.

Nationally, blood donations have been down about 8 percent during the past 11 weeks, Mavica said.

In the region that includes York County, the deficit is closer to 9 percent — resulting in a shortage of 3,200 units of blood.

"That would be equivalent to us shutting our doors for three whole days," Mavica said.

To meet demand, the tri-state region needs to collect about 1,000 units of blood per day, he said. Still, it's an "import region," he said.

"That means on a typical day we do not collect enough blood here to supply our need," Mavica said. "We have to rely on the Red Cross's national inventory to supplement what we collect locally."


The Red Cross is asking donors of all types — especially those with type O negative, B negative and A negative blood — to donate.

"We just need people to regularly come in, so we can increase our donor base, so we don't have to rely on other areas of the United States," Mavica said.

— Reach Erin James at