American Red Cross: Blood supply at critical low

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The American Red Cross of Michigan is asking more people to donate blood after the supply recently hit a critical low.

The Red Cross says the coronavirus pandemic is partially to blame, making it more difficult to collect donations or host blood drives.

“We need to catch up to where we need to be to make sure we have the right amount of blood on hand and that means we need to collect 10,000 additional blood products each week,” said Meghan Lehman, the regional communications director for the American Red Cross in Michigan.

The organization says in addition to the pandemic, there has been an increased need for blood at medical facilities due to an uptick in trauma.

“At this time of year, we usually do have a shortage. We have a dip in donor turnout during late summer. People are out doing things with their family, getting ready for back to school. This year is really different though because we still have those factors plus, we had a rise in COVID cases in certain areas that are keeping people home,” Lehman said.

Lehman says at some points in the last month, they’ve had as little as a half-day supply of Type O blood. The Red Cross says this particular blood type is important in emergency situations because it is the most common and therefore given to patients more than any other blood type.

Lehman says not having enough on hand could mean elective surgeries or other care will have to be pushed back.

The Red Cross says they’re currently working with churches and other community organizations to get things back on track.

“Blood — we can’t stockpile it. We need people to come out and donate now, so we can have it ready for people that need it in the coming days and these are people that are cancer patients, people that have been in car accidents,” Lehman explained.

To find out where you can donate, type in your zip code on the American Red Cross’ website.

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