Red Cross says it is seeing an emergency blood shortage

The American Red Cross said Thursday that it is experiencing the lowest post-summer supply of blood and platelets since 2015, as patients remain high but donors have dropped.

Posted: Sep 30, 2021 12:41 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — The American Red Cross said Thursday that it is experiencing the lowest post-summer supply of blood and platelets since 2015, as patients remain high but donors have dropped. The organization urged donors of all blood types, but especially type O, to make an appointment to give blood in order to overcome the current shortage.

"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," the Red Cross said in a statement.

When COVID-19 cases spiked in August, the Red Cross says that blood donor participation decreased about 10 percent — but blood product distributions to hospitals have remained strong, significantly outpacing blood donations in recent weeks.

The national Red Cross blood inventory has reached its lowest level for this time of year since 2015, with less than a day's supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. Types O positive and O negative, the most critical blood types for hospitals, dropped to less than a half-day supply at certain times within the last month. The Red Cross said that a five-day supply is usually what they strive to have on hand.

“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “While it’s clear the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on our minds, the Red Cross asks the public to remember donating blood and platelets is essential to the many patients that rely on lifesaving transfusions every day.”

Here are some of the upcoming blood donation opportunities in Jackson County this October:

  • Monday, October 4: 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Talent Community Center, 104 E. Main Street, Talent
  • Thursday, October 7: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Medford Donor Center, 1174 Progress Dr. Suite 102, Medford (sponsored by GoldRush Cider/Pint for a Pint drive)
  • Friday, October: 8: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ashpole Community Center, 17 Buchanan, Eagle Point
  • Wednesday, October 13: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Cultural Hall, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2900 Juanipero Way, Medford
  • Thursday, October 14: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Fellowship Hall, First Presbyterian Church, 2004 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland
  • Friday, October 15: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wesley Hall, First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main St., Ashland
  • Monday, October 18: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Gym, New Life Church of the Nazarene, 1974 E. McAndrews, Medford

Face masks are required for both donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment before arriving at a drive. Make an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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