American Red Cross faces blood shortage as cancellations increase due to coronavirus


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The American Red Cross and blood banks across the country are putting out an urgent call for donors. As the virus spreads and more businesses close donations are dropping drastically.

The American Red Cross said that blood banks across the country really in need of blood donations right now. With this virus going around it’s still completely safe to donate and that’s why they’re asking anyone who is healthy to make an appointment.

American Red Cross employees are working remotely trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but they’re now facing a “severe blood shortage,” as blood drives across the country continue to be canceled.

“Many of our hosts have canceled blood drives in Georgia. Through March 17, 204 cancellations have taken place resulting in 7,028 fewer units of blood collected,” American Red Cross Executive Director of the Southeast Georgia Chapter, Maria Center said.

Blood banks are seeing heightened concern to meet each patients needs and Center says it’s critically important.

“It’s really having an effect on the biomedical side of our mission because people are afraid to come out to blood drives. They think it’s some sort of mass gathering and I just want to reassure your viewers that going to a blood drive is like going to a pharmacy or going to the grocery store,” Center said.

David Oppenheim donated blood Wednesday after seeing the dramatic shortage.

“With all the things going on around this country and the world I understand that the hospitals are so short of blood,” Oppenheim said.

The American Red Cross assures blood drives have the highest standards of safety. They screen everyone who is working.

“They have their temperatures taken, they wear protective clothing and the individuals who are going to the blood drives are also screened. Their temperatures are taken and we’re doing a lot of extra measures,” Center said.

“People who can give blood ought to get on in here right now and do their civic duty and come in and donate blood because I know if I needed it I sure would want the blood to be available,” Oppenheim said.

Blood donation appointments can be made online.

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