Red Cross says blood shortage is the worst in a decade. Here's how you can help

The Red Cross solely relies on donations. So if the shortage continues, blood will be rationed.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis.

The organization says it's the worst they've ever experienced in more than a decade. They are now calling on people to help.

"During this crisis, we are asking all donors of all blood types to come out there, roll up their sleeves and save a life," said Guy Triano, regional chief executive officer for the American Red Cross.

Whether it's donating blood or volunteering your time, the Red Cross needs the public's help. Their efforts have not stopped during the pandemic, but they say they've seen a 10% drop in blood donations during COVID.

"If you can't find an appointment for this week or next week there will be appointments out there," Triano said.

Appointments may be quickly filling up, but that's because fewer time slots are available. Just like other industries, they too are short-staffed.

"The pandemic has caused some of our staff to get COVID. Because of that, at times we make less appointments available because we have less staff to process the donors," Triano explained.

A decline in blood donations, staffing shortages, and people getting sick with COVID have all resulted in the nationwide blood shortage.

"Without those donors out there donating blood, there's no blood on the shelves and ultimately no blood we can send to the hospitals," Triano said.

The Red Cross solely relies on donations. So if the shortage continues, blood will be rationed.

"If the blood is not in the hospitals, elective procedures can and will be canceled," said Triano.

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It's been one week since the American Red Cross announced they are facing a nationwide blood shortage. It's a big challenge they are working through, and that's why they're asking for the public's help.

Typically they have a five-day supply of blood on hand, right now they only have one. What is being collected on a daily basis is being tested right away before being distributed to hospitals.

You can schedule an appointment to donate blood on their website. Enter your zip code to find the blood drive closest to you, and then book your appointment.

Triano encourages people to please still book even if it's weeks out. Time slots are filling up quickly because of less openings due to staffing shortages.
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