Red Cross warns of blood shortage as donor turnout reaches lowest levels of 2021


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The American Red Cross is warning of emergency blood and platelet shortages nationwide.

According to the Red Cross, as the country is returning to in-person workplaces and schools, donor turnout has reached the lowest level of the year, decreasing roughly 10% since August. With these levels remaining low, the organization’s blood supply has now dropped to its lowest rate since 2015.

Now with decreased blood donor turnout, our Red Cross blood supply has dropped to the lowest it has been at this time of year since 2015,” Red Cross Biomedical Services President Chris Hrouda said in a press release. “We recognize that this is a trying time for our country as we balance the new demands of returning to former routines with the ongoing pandemic, but lifesaving blood donations remains essential for hospitals patients in need of emergency and medical care that can’t wait.”

The Red Cross added that blood product distributions to hospitals have remained strong in recent weeks. However, distributions have significantly outpaced blood donations. The Red Cross now needs to collect 10,000 additional blood products weekly over the next month to overcome the shortage.

Specifically, the supply of types O positive and O negative blood is the most needed by hospitals. It is currently well below the “ideal” five-day supply in the nation. However, all blood types remain needed. There is also an emergency need for platelets.

Those who are eligible are urged to donate blood or platelets as soon as possible. Appointments to donate can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting the Red Cross website, or calling 1-800-733-2767.

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