A local blood bank is open for walk-ins amid a dangerously low blood shortage exacerbated by blizzards in Midwest states that normally contribute crucial donations to Southern California, the blood bank director said Friday.

“These locations are having their own inventories depleted and will be in no position to assist us for an indefinite period, even after they’re up and running again,” LifeSteam Blood Bank’s President and Medical Director Dr. Rick Axelrod said. “It’s time for us to step up and help our own. We’ve got the population, I think we’ve got the heart, too.”

LifeStream La Quinta, 79-215 Corporate Center Drive, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to accept blood donations, except for Wednesday when the center is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Two other desert blood drives will be held Friday.

One is until 2 p.m. at Rancho Mirage at the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau drive at 70-100 Highway 111.

The other — until 3 p.m. — is at the Stater Bros. in the 57000 block of Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley.

Group O blood donations are the most urgently needed as they are the most commonly used blood

“O negative is compatible with everyone so may be transfused to any patient and is especially critical to have on hand for emergency situation to help stabilize patients until their blood type can be determined — while O positive red cells can be safely transfused to about 85 percent of the population,” Escalante said.

While the group O types are the most common, Escalante said “about 15 percent of us have a negative blood type so we’re hoping more of those donors come forward.”

Participating donors will receive free cholesterol screenings, Escalante said.

Donors must be at least 15 years of age, with donors under 18 required to provide written parental consent. Parent consent forms are available at the drive or at www.LStream.org.

Prospective donors must be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis.

Lifestream services more than 80 Southern California hospitals in six counties, according to Escalante.

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