Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces 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, according to a news release on Tuesday.
Due to the holiday, about 450 fewer blood drives were organized by business and community groups last week than during a typical week. 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, the release stated.
“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Bernadette Jay, spokeswoman for the Mid-Atlantic & Appalachian Blood Services Regions.
To help meet the need, the Red Cross has added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives, she said, urging people to participate.
Blood donations also fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed—430 fewer in the Appalachian Blood Services Region and nearly 1,500 fewer donations in the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply, the release stated.
Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.
Upcoming area blood drives will be held 1:30 to 7 p.m. this Thursday, July 11 at Orange Presbyterian Church, 162 West Main St. in the town of Orange and noon to 6 p.m. on July 23 at the Lake of the Woods Community Center, 110 Sweetbriar Park Rd. in Locust Grove.