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Red Cross officials said Thursday that blood donations are needed immediately to avert a serious shortage of three blood types -- O-positive, O-negative and A-negative. Only a two-day supply is available currently and a three-day supply is considered the minimum to meet hospital needs in the region.

Low blood donations this week produced a shortfall of 20 percent, officials said. Furthermore, donations only provided two-thirds of platelets needed for cancer treatment and other surgeries.

The Red Cross expects the Labor Day weekend will aggravate the shortage, since fewer people give blood over holidays.

Any person 17 or older who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-272-4543.

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