Red Cross blood supply drops below three-days: Urgent call for donors

red crossFollowing a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.

About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available – and less than a two-day supply of type O blood – for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.

“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Bernadette Jay, external communications manager, Mid-Atlantic & Appalachian Blood Services Regions. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.”

In June, through the Missing Types Campaign, the Red Cross encouraged donors – especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years – to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months. Blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed — 430 fewer in the Appalachian Blood Services Region and nearly 1,500 fewer donations in the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.

How to help

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Augusta

Fishersville
July 12, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Augusta Health, 78 Medical Center Drive
July 24, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Augusta Expo, 277 Expo Road

Stuarts Draft
July 12, noon-5 p.m., Destiny Family Center, 36 Rose Avenue

Verona
July 22, 2-6 p.m., Verona Community Center, 465 Lee Highway

Rockingham

Bridgewater
July 29, 1-6 p.m., Bridgewater Presbyterian Church, 110 East College Street

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.



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