LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/WOOD) — As orders to limit public interactions shut down facilities all around Michigan, blood drivers are being canceled. The American Red Cross says it is facing a severe blood shortage as a result.
The Red Cross says it supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood, and more than 80% of donations come from drives held at places like college campuses, schools and workplaces.
In Michigan, about 160 such drives have been canceled, a difference of 5,100 fewer blood donations.
“The American Red Cross is experiencing an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations, 2700 nationwide, absolutely incredible, because of the coronavirus,” West Michigan American Red Cross Executive Director Tiffany Page told News 8. “So we’re encouraging folks please get out and donate if you’re healthy. We’ve taken lots of measures to ensure social distancing. We’re even taking measures such as taking folks’ temperature as they enter our buildings to make sure they’re safe, both the donor and the staff.”
The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to keep increasing.
The blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies or patients suffering from cancer.
“I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day’s supply of blood for the hospital,” Dr. Robertson Davenport, director of transfusion medicine at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, said. “The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait.”
To compensate, the Red Cross has added appointment slots at donation centers and expanded capacity at drives over the next few weeks to provide ample opportunities for donors to give.
The Upper Peninsula’s Regional Blood Center is also asking for donations.
To donate blood, bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification to check in. People who are 17 and older, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at a drive by completing a RapidPass. With RapidPass, donors complete the predonation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer.
You can also download the Red Cross app to find out where your blood goes and who it helps.