Red Cross Facing Severe Blood Shortage as Donations Dry Up

Courtesy of the American Red Cross.

HYANNIS – As the nation continues to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health experts are saying that another public health crisis is also looming: a shortage of blood donors. 

Individuals may be returning to the office and classes, but Medical Director at the American Red Cross Dr. Baia Lasky said few are venturing out to get their blood drawn, with the donor turnout continuing to decline as the year continues. 

“The blood inventory is actually the lowest it has been this time a year since 2015, with less than a one-day supply of certain blood types,” said Dr. Lasky. 

According to the Red Cross, donor turnout decreased by about 10 percent in August.

Dr. Lasky said that the Red Cross normally collects donations at high schools, colleges, sporting events and businesses, but as COVID forced venues to close or restructure under safety guidelines, collecting blood has been difficult over the course of the pandemic. 

“The Red Cross is just not experiencing the normal rebound we normally see at this time of year. So we’re now facing an emergency shortage of blood and platelets and we will need to collect an additional 10,000 blood products each week over the next month to recover that blood supply in order to meet hospital and patient needs,” said Dr. Lasky. 

All blood types are needed by the Red Cross—particularly type O blood, the most needed blood group by hospitals nationwide.

Platelets, the clotting portion of blood, are also in short supply. They have a shelf life of five days and nearly half of all platelet donations are given to patients undergoing cancer treatments, according to Red Cross officials.

More information on the American Red Cross of Massachusetts can be found on their website here.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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