RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Leaders of the agencies that provide blood to some North Carolina hospitals say the easing of the coronavirus pandemic has created potentially dangerous shortages.
As people get out and about more, injuries from car crashes and other traumas are increasing, and the backlog of surgical procedures delayed by the pandemic have driven up demand for blood and platelets, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Meanwhile, fewer organizations are hosting blood drives and fewer individuals are coming in to donation centers.
Delisha English, president and CEO of The Blood Connection, said her agency cannot keep up with what she calls an unprecedented need for blood.
“We’re experiencing a blood shortage that can last for several weeks if the community doesn’t take immediate action,” English said.
At a news conference, English said donations at the agency are down 30%. She attributed some of the “unprecedented low donor turnout” to people rediscovering travel and other activities they missed.
Good numbers of people donated at the height of the pandemic last year at The Blood Connection, perhaps because people had more time on their hands or wanted to do their part in response to the national health crisis, she said. She’s hoping more people find that motivation again.
The American Red Cross has been warning of a summer blood shortage for weeks. Nationwide, the agency said, it needs to collect more than 1,000 additional blood donations each day to meet the spike in demand for emergencies, organ transplants and elective surgeries.
The Blood Connection and the Red Cross must maintain a steady flow of donations because they said blood and platelets can’t be frozen or stockpiled.