Facing a “critical” shortage of donated blood, LifeStream Blood Bank will hold two mobile blood drives Wednesday in the Coachella Valley, where donors also will be screened for COVID-19 antibodies.

LifeStream staff will set up at Northgate Community Church, 30010 Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again at Nothing Bundt Cakes, 72216 Highway 111, Suite F3, in Palm Desert, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Prospective donors who miss these mobile opportunities to give blood will have others this week. On Thursday, blood donations will be accepted at Stater Bros., 13200 Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Friday, at the Center for Spiritual Living, 45-630 Portola Ave. in Palm Desert, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The nonprofit continues to face a dire shortage of blood, a shortage that LifeStream officials says puts cancer and surgical patients — along with accident victims and newborn babies — at risk of having crucial procedures canceled.

“The situation is critical,” said LifeStream’s CEO and president, Dr. Rick Axelrod. “Surgeons can only do so much without an ample blood supply. On behalf of patients they assist, I implore the community to come forward and help.”

LifeStream is low on all blood types, but especially Group O blood — which has the highest demand. It continues to struggle to fill its blood drive calendar, which is currently booked at 50% of normal levels.

According to Axelrod, the nonprofit typically receives 25% of its annual donations via high school and college campus blood drives, all of which have been canceled through the end of the year due to COVID-19. The canceled drives, which were scheduled between September and December, equate to 7,500 pints of lost blood, Axelrod said.

During the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, protective stay-at-home orders forced the cancellation of more than 80 LifeStream blood drives throughout Southern California, resulting in an additional 5,000 pints of blood effectively lost from mid-March through the end of May.

Potential donors must wear face coverings while donating, have their temperatures checked and complete a review of possible COVID-19 symptoms. They must be at least 15 years old, weigh at least 115 pounds and be free from infections or illnesses.

Donors must not be at risk of having AIDS or hepatitis, and those under 17 years old must bring written consent from a parent.

Appointments are recommended and can be made by calling 800-879-4484 or online at www.lstream.org.

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