Red Cross: Blood donations are badly needed

·2 min read

Jan. 21—January is National Blood Donor Month, and the American Red Cross is sounding the alarm that there is a national blood shortage.

Dangerously low blood supply levels are posing a risk to patient care and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available, a media release said.

Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments, and donors of all blood types — especially type O — are urged to make an appointment now to give in the weeks ahead.

In recent weeks, the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals. At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met, according to the Red Cross.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges, the release said, including about a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. Additionally, the pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges.

The Red Cross held a blood drive Thursday, Jan. 20, at Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta and had 40 people give blood, collection supervisor Matthew Smith said. Upcoming blood drives in Oneonta are from noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Quality Inn on Southside and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Main Street Baptist Church.

To make an appointment to give blood or platelets, and find other drives, donors can use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.

The Red Cross and the NFL are partnering this month to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the national blood shortage. Those who give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles or a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. For more information, visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl.

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 (or 16 with parental permission in New York, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.