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Red Cross facing 'crisis' as blood supply level falls to historic low

Blood donations
Posted at 12:34 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 12:42:34-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The American Red Cross announced this week it is facing its first-ever “national blood crisis” with its worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

According to the Red Cross, the shortage has led doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more blood is available.

LaMar Holliday, regional communications director for the American Red Cross Indiana Region, said the pandemic, severe winter weather, supply chain and staffing challenges, and the holidays have contributed to the shortage.

“These challenges have resulted in the lowest national blood inventories in more than a decade,” Holliday said in an email. “At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met. What is even more challenging at this time is that blood supply levels have remained at historically low levels now for nearly four months.”

All blood types are needed, but Type O is especially low. The Red Cross reported having less than a one-day supply of some blood types in recent weeks while having to limit distributions to hospitals.

The pandemic has created challenges for the Red Cross with a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood and a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges.

People can make an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Donors who give blood or plasma in January will be entered in a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LVI in Lon Angeles. People will also be entered in a drawing to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card.