The American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis for the first time as the country faces its worst blood shortage in more than a decade.
Officials said the low blood supply levels are posing a concerning risk to patient care and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.
Blood and platelet donations are needed to help prevent further delays in medical treatments. Donors of all types, especially type O are urged to make an appointment to give in the weeks ahead.
The Red Cross has had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distribution to hospitals.
Due to the COVID pandemic, the Red Cross has seen a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. The pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges.
“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”
You can make an appointment online or by calling 1-800-733-2767.
The Red Cross and the NFL are partnering to urge individuals to give blood or platelets. Those who donate blood, platelets or plasma in January will be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Donors will also be entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card.
To donate blood you will need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license and two other forms of identification that are required at check-in.