American Red Cross Declares “National Blood Crisis” Amid Low Supply

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There is an urgent call for blood donations, as supplies reach “dangerously low” levels, according to the American Red Cross.

“We strive to have a five day supply of blood, and right now we’re not near that, and so doctors are having to make decisions on patient care based on what’s available,” explains Allison Taylor, with the Greater Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross.

In recent weeks, the Red Cross had had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and at times has to limit what it can send to hospitals.

The biggest factor is the pandemic, which has led to a 10 percent drop in people donating blood, and a more than 60 percent decline in blood drives at schools and colleges.

“Because we’ve been in this low kind of low period for so long, we just haven’t been able to build that inventory back up,” Taylor explains.

Advocates say the need is constant.

“There’s never a day where blood collections can stop. It has to be happening all the time,” says Susan Forbes, with OneBlood.

The organization supplies blood to 250 hospitals in the southeast, including Atrium Health.

“The pandemic really has upended the traditional locations for blood drives, and it’s really created an indefinite disruption to our operations,” Forbes explains.

She says donors truly make an impact on others.

“It really is a team effort to save lives, and it starts with the donor, and they play such a crucial role in our community.”

The American Red Cross says 75 percent of donation appointments remain unfilled in the Greater Carolinas Region.

“Type O” is the most needed blood-type.