WEST HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — At the beginning of the year, the Red Cross declared a National Blood Shortage Crisis for the first time in history. Blood supply across the country was at a historic low and officials locally said the supply was the worst it had been in over a decade. Since that time, blood donation efforts increased but does that mean we’re out of ‘crisis’ mode yet?

Michael Tedesco is the Regional Communications Director with the American Red Cross of Western New York and said the shortage was due to a number of factors including the pandemic, supply chain issues, and staffing limitations.

“We’ve been operating in catch-up mode for quite a while,” Tedesco said.

But have we caught up yet? Or are we still in crisis mode?

“We’re getting closer, but we still need more blood and more people to step forward,” Tedesco said.

The nation’s blood supply is no longer at the historic lows experienced when the crisis was declared earlier this year. While the ‘crisis’ may be over, officials say we are nowhere near optimum levels and donors are needed.

“The Red Cross supplies 40% of the nation’s blood. We need to collect to stay on top of things about 13,000 units a day nationally. And we’ve been trying our best and struggling a bit to meet those,” Tedesco said. “The need is constant so get out there, schedule your appointments. We need your help.”

Donated blood can go to save trauma or surgical patients. Platelet donations can go to those undergoing cancer or sickle cell treatment. Both instances that help can help local people.

“Blood is needed in our hospitals. It’s needed by our friends and neighbors every day,” Tedesco said.

If you would like to donate you can do so by making an appointment here.