Holiday usage depletes reserves of this “universal” blood type

JOPLIN, Mo. - Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the local provider of blood to 40 area hospitals, has issued a Code Red Emergency Appeal for type O Negative blood. A Code Red Emergency Appeal means that there is less than a one-day supply of blood in reserve for patient use at those hospitals. The blood center needs an immediate response from donors to overcome the extremely low blood reserve levels.

All other blood types are at normal levels, except for type A Negative, which is also experiencing low reserves. Donors of types other than O Negative should stick to their regular donation cycle.

Reserve levels of type O Negative blood were already at lower than normal levels going into the Thanksgiving weekend, but the disruption in the donation schedule has led to this emergency appeal.

“This appeal is very specific in that we’re only asking type O Negative and A Negative blood donors to respond immediately,” CBCO Media Relations Representative Chris Pilgrim said. “Despite the long holiday weekend, reserves of other blood types remain high. Type O Negative is the universal blood type – in an emergency it can be transfused to anybody. Only six percent of Americans are type O Negative, so it’s critical that they hear this message.”

CBCO donor centers are open this week in Springfield, Joplin, Bentonville and Springdale, with over a dozen mobile blood drives scheduled in the CBCO service area over the next week. For drive locations or donor center hours, log on to or call toll-free at 1-800-280-5337.