The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage and must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over 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 as many delayed giving amid a return to the workplace and in-person learning, as well as a recent surge in Covid-19 cases across the country due to the delta variant.

As cases spiked in August, blood donor participation decreased about 10%, but blood product distributions to hospitals have remained strong, significantly outpacing blood donations in recent weeks.  

The national Red Cross blood inventory is the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 2015, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. 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 − well below the ideal 5-day supply.

“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months,” said Dr. John Nobiletti, medical director for the Red Cross Central Appalachia Region, “but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge.”

To make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.

Donors 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.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within 1  to 2 weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

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