A person donates blood as they talk with an American Red Cross staffer during a Red Cross and Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team blood drive at Chase Field Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Phoenix. According to the Red Cross, as of April 5, nearly 14,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in more than 400,000 fewer blood donations.
Julia Agos is a reporter and the host of All Things Considered for WITF. Previously, she was a political reporter for WFUV News in New York, where she covered New York City and state politics and hosted the Prickly Politics Podcast. Julia grew up in Sacramento, California and graduated from Fordham University.
(Harrisburg) – Hospitals are not only dealing with surging COVID-19 cases — but a blood shortage as well.
The American Red Cross, which collects 40 percent of the nation’s blood donations, is calling it the worst shortage in more than a decade.
The organization is operating with less than one day’s supply of critical blood products. It says the ideal stockpile is at least five days.
Laura Burke, with the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross, said doctors are being forced to decide which patients receive blood transfusions and who must wait.
“That means that certain procedures may have to be deferred. We are focused on replenishing that supply, so they don’t have to make those decisions,” she said.
In the midstate, about 44.8 percent of donation appointments remain unfilled over the next month.
The nonprofit is accepting all blood types — but especially O positive and O negative.
“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross.
The organization saw a 62 percent drop in blood drives since the pandemic began in March 2020.