OLYMPIA — The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.
The Red Cross reports that about 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available – and less than a two-day supply of type O blood – for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.
“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.”
In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors, especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years, to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months.
"Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed and more than 300 fewer here in the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region, causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply," a Red Cross news release stated.
Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.
Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
The Red Cross have upcoming blood donation opportunities in the South Sound:
Aberdeen, Wednesday: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., VFW Post 224, 105 E Heron St
Hoquiam, Thursday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Elks Lodge Hoquiam, 624 K Street
Montesano, Tuesday: 1:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., Church of God, 317 Spruce East
Bremerton, July 31: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., WA State patrol, 4811 W Werner Rd.