The American Red Cross and Emory Healthcare are set to discuss the Atlanta region’s blood shortage, which the agencies call “urgent,” during a press conference this morning.

The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region has been on public appeal for blood for nearly six weeks. Despite considerable efforts over the past several weeks, the Red Cross has not seen an increase in collections or inventory levels. It is critical that eligible donors be made aware of the situation and encouraged to give blood as soon as possible.

The plea comes as the American Red Cross and U.S. Food & Drug Administration continue a ban on gay men donating their blood. So if the region’s sizable gay male population wanted to help, they couldn’t.

The debate over gay men donating blood has recently reached a fever pitch in Australia.