Red Cross Declares First-Ever ‘Blood Crisis’ as Omicron Surges

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The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis, posing a risk to patient care. Photo American Red Cross.

The need for blood has never been greater, according to the Red Cross.

“The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care,” Greater Pennsylvania Region Communication and Marketing Director Lisa Landis said in a release. “Amid this crisis, doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments.

The Red Cross has experienced a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to confront relentless issues due to the pandemic, including ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. Adding to the concern is the surge of COVID-19 cases. The Red Cross has experienced low donor turnout ever since the delta variant began spreading in August, and that trend continues as the Omicron variant takes over.

“All types are needed now, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations, to help reverse this national blood crisis,” Landis said. “If there is not an immediate opportunity available to donate, donors are asked to make an appointment in the days and weeks ahead to ensure the Red Cross can replenish and maintain a sufficient blood supply.”

Those wishing to make an appointment can do so by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlodd.org or calling 1-800 RED CROSS.

The next scheduled blood drive in Warren County is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 1 at First Presbyterian Church, from 1-6 p.m.

Those wishing to donate can check on future drives by going to redcrossblood.org and searching by zip code.