Red Cross says post-summer blood inventory at six-year low

News 3 teams up with American Red Cross for Labor of Love blood drive
Posted at 12:18 PM, Oct 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 22:32:19-04

The American Red Cross is once again asking for people to step forward and donate blood.

The organization recently announced its post-summer blood inventory is at its lowest in six years.

"We've seen about a 10 percent reduction in donor turnout at our drives across not only the commonwealth of Virginia but across the country," said Jonathan McNamara, spokesperson for Red Cross Virginia. "At the same time, we're still seeing high demand from our hospital partners."

He says the COVID-19 pandemic is playing a role in both factors; people are still not as likely to give blood, even though hospitals have been allowing elective surgeries that had been postponed.

If blood isn't replenished, McNamara says it's realistic that hospitals could see impacts.

"What we can see in situations like this is hospitals may have to postpone elective surgeries or do other activities to make sure they can get blood to those patients who need it in an emergency situation," he told News 3. "We want to make sure that does not occur."

The Red Cross is trying to get the word out before it gets to that point.

As it has throughout the pandemic, the organization is pushing anyone who can donate blood to sign up for a time at a local donation site. Those who aren't allowed to donate or can't are asked to volunteer their time.

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Nari'k Page, 23, says battling sickle cell disease means three to four hospital stays a year, sometimes requiring lifesaving blood transfusions.

This latest announcement comes as the Red Cross is trying to improve outreach in minority communities. Experts say blood from Black donors is best suited to help those battling sickle cell disease, the number one inherited blood disorder that often sends patients to the hospital for lifesaving blood transfusions.

Nari'k Page, a 23-year-old bank teller from Virginia Beach, tells News 3 he was born with sickle cell. He says the disease requires three or four hospital stays a year. The most recent was in the last couple weeks.

"If you could help me get out of the hospital sooner by giving your time, like an hour, to donate blood, I would greatly appreciate it and everyone like me would too," he said.

Click HERE for information on blood donation locations.