National Blood Donor Month: Confronting the Blood Crisis

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – January is National Blood Donor Month and the Red Cross has declared the first-ever blood crisis in the United States. Donation centers coast to coast are experiencing a shortage of donors due to the holidays and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Red Cross has seen a 10% drop in the number of people donating blood since the start of the pandemic and continues to face relentless challenges due to the pandemic, including continued cancellations of blood drives and limitations of staff. The upsurge in COVID-19 cases adds to concern,” according to a statement from the American Red Cross.

People working from home are adding to the drop in donor numbers, according to the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

“Much of the remote workforce no longer donates as frequently because they are not back in the office where their blood drives are taking place. This contributed to national concerns over the blood supply. Over the past few months, local hospital utilization, primarily for red blood cells, has increased by 10% due to an increase in surgeries, trauma, and massive transfusions,” according to the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

The American Red Cross recently said it had to limit blood distributions to hospitals due to the shortage. Blood cannot be stored and some blood components have a limited shelf life.

If you would like to donate through the Brazos Valley Blood Center or the Red Cross, know that your blood stays in Texas.

“When you donate, you are giving the gift of life,” says Steve Walker, regional director of operations at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. “Every one of our gifts here [at The Blood Center of Brazos Valley] goes to our local hospitals here in the area. These hospitals need that blood, platelets, and plasma on the shelf for any type of trauma or surgeries or mass casualty type events.

According to Walker, there are several ways to donate blood. It says you can either donate whole blood, which takes less than an hour to donate, or an automated donation, which will donate the most needed blood components.

Additionally, another way to donate is to set up a mobile donation. The Brazos Valley Blood Center and the Red Cross offer the possibility of organizing blood drives.

To schedule a donation with the Brazos Valley Blood Center click here.

To schedule a donation with the Red Cross click here.

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