New federal guidelines could help local blood supply - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New federal guidelines could help local blood supply

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Blood supply in the Tennessee Valley is critically low. 

Charlie Callari with Blood Assurance says the blood bank usually keeps five days worth of blood on hand for the region's 75 hospitals, right now they only have enough for two days. 

"We're up to a two day supply and growing. We've had a couple of good collection days in a row. We need to continue that get back up to our five day supply," he said. 

Recent changes could bring in more donors nation-wide now that FDA guidelines allow gay men to donate blood. Previously federal guidelines didn't allow them to donate because of transmitting HIV. 

"Any group that additionally we have coming in, that would definitely help. We welcome anybody who is eligible to donate, who can donate, we ask to donate," he added. 

But gay men aren't able to donate at Blood Assurance just yet. 

The FDA says it's up to establishments to adopt the new recommendations and would require them to update their education materials and questionnaires which Callari says they're working on now.

"It's going through a lot of regulatory rules, changes. Things like that with the MSM but we anticipate within six months maybe seven months they'll truly be in effect," he added. 

It's a move Callari says will help fill these shelves and save lives. 

"Only one percent more and we'd never have a shortage again," he said. 

READ MORE |  FDA recommendations for blood donation eligibility

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