The American Red Cross declares worst blood shortage in over a decade

Red Cross Declare National Blood Line
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:13 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -The American Red Cross issued its first-ever national blood crisis near the beginning of January.

The Red Cross is yet another entity that has been hit hard by the pandemic.

“This is a unique situation I have not seen before,” Executive Director for Wisconsin’s Northwest Chapter, Mary Jane Thomsen said.

As a result, the organization is seeing its worst national blood shortage in more than a decade with less than a day’s supply of blood available.

“This is the first-ever declared blood crisis and like other health care organizations and other businesses, we are not immune to the effects of COVID-19 and also staffing shortages,” Thomsen said.

Thomsen says there are many reasons why blood supplies have dropped, including canceled blood drives.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we actually had so many businesses and schools close their doors and that affected the blood supply immediately,” Thomsen said.

There’s also the issue of not having enough bodies to run them.

“In this situation, we have blood drives on the calendar and we are needing to make sure we can continue to have them with the staff that are working now and not affected by the pandemic,” Thomsen said. “We are needing donors to make appointments at already scheduled blood drives, today and in the weeks to come so that we can help hospitals meet patient demand.”

In the Chippewa Valley, Mayo Clinic is one of the hospitals that is supplied blood by the Red Cross.

“They’ve been keeping us posted but this last one was a little bit more shocking when they finally said you know we don’t even have an emergency supply left maybe,” Transfusion Services Coordinator for Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Brenda Hodowanic said.

Even though Mayo Clinic has a good amount of blood in stock now, donations are still encouraged because so many people need it.

“It’s important for us and for our trauma and surgical patients, even our outpatient basis and oncology department,” Hodowanic said.

All in all, due to a myriad of factors, Thomsen says it could take time for blood supplies to get back to pre-pandemic levels.

“We don’t foresee this building back up as quickly as it could,” Thomsen said.

If you’re healthy enough to donate. Thomsen urges you to roll up your sleeve to help save lives.

To learn more about donating blood to the Red Cross and for appointment information, click here.

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