WEST MICHIGAN — The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood and platelet shortage and needs an additional 10,000 blood products every week for the next month for the blood supply to recover and meet hospital and patient needs.
Blood donor turnout has reached the lowest levels of the year, which Red Cross officials say is due to a return to the workplace and in-person learning, as well as a recent surge in COVID-19 cases because of the delta variant.
As cases spiked in August, blood donor participation decreased about 10%, but blood product distributions to hospitals have been “significantly” outpacing donations in recent weeks, according to a news release Monday.
The supply of types O positive and O negative blood – the most-needed blood types by hospitals – dropped to less than a half-day supply at times over the last month. A five-day supply would be ideal, according to the Red Cross.
“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “While it’s clear the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on our minds, the Red Cross asks the public to remember donating blood and platelets is essential to the many patients that rely on lifesaving transfusions every day.”
To help encourage donations, the Red Cross is giving out a limited edition, football-inspired T-shirt and a coupon for a free haircut via email from Sports Clips Haircuts through Sept. 30.
Those who donate in October will receive a link by email to claim a free Zaxby’s Signature Sandwich reward or get a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.
Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-733-2767.
More information, including blood drives coming up in West Michigan, can be found here.