American Red Cross experiencing severe blood shortage

The American Red Cross announced in a press release it is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise — and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types — especially type O and those giving platelets — are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients.

Right now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. In comparison to 2019, the Red Cross has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10% in — more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions.

“When seconds count in emergency trauma situations, it’s the blood already on the shelves that can make the difference in lifesaving care,” said Eric Horton, regional donor services executive, Red Cross of Idaho and Montana. “As many people begin to enjoy travel and time with loved ones again this summer, patients are relying on the generosity of donors to help ensure they have access to the treatment they need. Please consider blood donation as a summer activity that can help save lives.”

In addition to trauma needs, there is a great hospital demand for blood as people who deferred care during the height of the pandemic present with more advanced disease progression, requiring increased blood transfusions. Over the last three months, the Red Cross has distributed about 75,000 more blood products than expected to meet these needs. As a result of this shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes. Blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled, so it must constantly be replenished by generous blood donors.

In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. As a thank-you, those who come to give now through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)

Final weeks for COVID-19 antibody testing

As more than a third of Americans have become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Red Cross is winding down COVID-19 antibody testing for blood, platelet and plasma donations.

Through June 25, the Red Cross is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Testing may show possible exposure to the virus or whether a donor has developed an immune response to vaccination. The conclusion of Red Cross antibody testing represents a new, hopeful phase as the nation continues to journey out of this pandemic.

Blood drive safety

The Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fully vaccinated individuals, including staff and donors, no longer need to wear masks or socially distance. Unvaccinated individuals continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving.

Upcoming local blood donation opportunities through June 30

Boise

6/22: 1 – 7 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5900 Castle Dr. ; 2 – 7 p.m., Five Mile Church of the Nazarene, 2701 S. Five Mile Road

6/24: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Salvation Army, 9492 W. Emerald St.; 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Idaho Water Center, 322 E. Front St.; 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Banner Bank Building, 950 W. Bannock

6/25: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Boise Towne Square Mall, 350 N. Milwaukee

6/28: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., One Capital Center, 999 Main St.

6/29: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., One Capital Center, 999 Main St.

6/30: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 4950 N. Bradley

Eagle

6/24: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Eagle Nazarene Church, 1001 W. State St

Kuna

6/29: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Kuna Idaho Stake Center, 8625 S. Linder

Meridian

6/23: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Meridian First Baptist Church, 428 W. Pine Ave.

6/29: 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Capital Educators Federal Credit Union, 275 S Stratford Drive

Caldwell

6/25: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Our Lady of the Valley, 1122 W. Linden

Nampa

6/22: 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Nampa, 4300 East Flamingo Ave.; noon – 6 p.m., Birch Building, 6111 Birch Lane

Originally posted IdahoPress.com

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