American Red Cross facing severe blood and platelet shortages

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Fall is typically the time of year when blood is at a surplus, but that’s not the case this year.

The American Red Cross is currently facing a blood shortage that they haven’t experienced in over six years, which recently has left them with less than a single days supply for certain types of blood.

“Currently, the Red Cross has an emergency blood shortage and we’re also having a platelet shortage. Donor turnouts at blood drives has been very low, probably the lowest it’s been this year and people are delaying giving blood because they’ve returned to work, they’ve returned to in-person school,” said Maria Center, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Southeast Georgia’s Chapter.

Not only is their blood supply at drastically low levels, their platelets are as well. Nearly half of which go directly towards people who are receiving treatments for cancer.

“We need to collect about additional 10,000 blood products every week over the next several months to make up for the shortage that were currently experiencing. So we’re looking for all blood types right now, particularly O,” explained Center.

That’s 10,000 additional units on top of what they’re already getting on average. 

That blood supply is used by local hospitals to treat emergency situations like surgeries, car accidents, blood transplants, and even chemotherapy treatments. 

While donations have dropped, hospital demand for blood remains strong. Currently, Red Cross is facing a decrease in donor turnout by 10% since August alone.

“You know, our concern is that hospitals will have to delay surgeries or procedures because they don’t have enough blood. Really, worst case scenario is that they don’t have blood on the shelves for emergency situations and we’re trying to avert that,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, Medical Director of the Red Cross of Georgia.

If you’d like to sign up to donate blood, you can click here to find a blood drive near you.

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