(NBC News) – As temperatures increase blood donations typically decrease, and this year blood banks are facing even more challenges than the slow summer season.
The ongoing pandemic and resumption of elective surgeries are leaving blood supplies well below normal levels.
The American Red Cross usually has enough supply to meet the nation’s needs for five days. Right now, they only have a two day supply.
The Red Cross and other blood banks are putting out a call for donations of whole blood and platelets, as well as plasma from those who’ve recovered from coronavirus.
They’ve added additional steps to protect donors and staff including temperature checks, masks and social distancing.
Southern-based blood bank OneBlood is also providing a free COVID-19 antibody test with every donation.
“Even if a person had been asymptomatic, and maybe was wondering ‘Did I have the virus or not?,’ if they donate with us they would be able to find out that information,” says OneBlood’s Susan Forbes.
OneBlood saw nearly 50,000 donations go uncollected from march to may due to the pandemic.
They also saw new donors turn out, and are hoping they become repeat customers.
“We need people to please make this a habit,” Forbes says.
Read more: https://bit.ly/2MQ1U5h