American Red Cross facing a critical blood shortage

West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, WV (WBOY) – The American Red Cross continues to experience an emergency blood and platelet shortage that has caused the blood supply to drop to the lowest post-summer level in at least six years. 

In addition, the Red Cross said blood donor turnout decreased by about 10% as summer came to an end. While donations have dropped, hospital demand for blood remains strong. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to give now to help meet the needs of patients this fall.  

Jason Keeling

Normally, this time of year, blood donations pick up, but because of the delta variant of COVID-19, we are not seeing this rebound in blood donations, which necessitates this appeal that we’re asking the public; those who are eligible to donate to please consider donating lifesaving blood. Particularly because this is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, realizing that around 25% of the donations received go to help those who are suffering from some form of cancer.

Jason Keeling – Executive Director, Allegheny Highlands Chapter, American Red Cross

There are blood drives happening in communities throughout the state and region. And, it’s “pretty easy” to find out where they are, Keeling said.

The best thing to do is to either call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or visit redcrossblood.org, or download the Red Cross Donor app. 

“In any of those cases, all potential donor needs to do is enter their ZIP code, and then they’ll be informed about what blood drives are going on most close to them and how they can easily sign up to donate,” Keeling said.

When people arrive at donation drives, they can rest assured that the centers follow “the highest standards of safety and infection control”, Keeling said.

Donation centers take all the necessary precautions. There are face masks for donors and staff regardless of their vaccination status.

Red Cross blood drive sign at donating event

“Those are the type of strategies that we have implemented to ensure the health of those in attendance,” Keeling said. “And, that’s another reason why it’s really important to schedule a donation ahead of time so that the amount of time waiting is lessened.”

It is very important that people step up and seize the moment to donate life-saving blood, Keeling said.

“Each unit of blood that’s collected can really be used for a myriad of reasons,” he said. “It might help someone who’s just experienced a trauma situation such as a car accident. But also, you have those who are experiencing cancer treatment that can benefit from blood donations and various other blood diseases and needs that can be helped because of a blood donation.”

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