Las Vegas Attack Prompts Surge in California Blood Donations

Phlebotomist Sha-Na Hill takes blood from Richard Williams during a Las Vegas blood drive launched in the wake of Sunday night's mass shooting. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Blood centers across California are seeing increased donations in the wake of the shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night that killed 59 people and injured more than 520.

"We’re seeing a large number of people show up to our donation centers wanting to donate, wanting to help out, wanting to show their support for Las Vegas," said Kevin Adler with Blood Centers of the Pacific, which has six donation centers across the Bay Area. Adler said centers in Sacramento, San Luis Obispo and Ventura also saw upticks in donations on Monday.

Adler said donors were turning out, whether or not they were personally impacted by the massacre.

"We have people coming in who have friends and family who live in Vegas, who were on the Strip at the time of the events in Las Vegas, so there was a close, personal connection." Adler said. "We had people who were coming in with no ties to Las Vegas, who just want to help and show solidarity and support to Las Vegas."

The Blood Centers of the Pacific prioritizes supplying blood to local hospitals first, but Adler said California blood was already on its way to Las Vegas on Monday morning. He said it was unclear if more blood from California would be needed in the coming days because of high donation rates in Las Vegas itself, but he encouraged Californians to continue donating over the next several weeks in case more blood is needed.

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All blood types are helpful, according to Adler, but O negative is especially valuable because it can be transfused to almost anybody. O positive and platelet donors are also in high demand.

The ripple effects of the massacre are being felt in other ways across California.

The San Francisco Police Department says it will be fully staffed for the various outdoor events taking place in the city this week, including San Francisco Fleet Week and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in Golden Gate Park. The department said there will be a visible police presence with officers on foot, motorcycles, horseback and in patrol cars.

Several airlines offering flights between California and Las Vegas are allowing travelers to change their plans without facing the usual fees. United Airlines is waiving its change fee and the difference in fares for people who had been scheduled to fly to or from Las Vegas between Monday and Friday. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue are offering the same deal for flights through Tuesday. Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is offering free flights for victims' families, in addition to waiving change fees throughout the week.

The Oakland Raiders, who will relocate to Las Vegas, donated $50,000 to a GoFundMe set up by a local official in the Nevada city. The campaign had raised nearly $3.3 million as of Tuesday morning.

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