(WROC/WETM) — The Red Cross says there’s a big need now for blood donations to help supply procedures that may require blood transfusions, now that elective surgeries can be performed at local hospitals.
In the last couple of months collections have decreased due to the pandemic on top of modified staffing at centers and cancelled blood drives. The Red Cross says the blood they did have could have been used to treat cancer, sickle cell anemia patients and mothers who needed it while giving birth during the pandemic.
With steps now moving forward towards some sort of normalcy, the non-profit organization is urging those who are healthy to donate blood.
“Blood has a shelf life, so some of those donations have either been used or need to be used quickly. so we need to start to replenish that. Also as we begin to reopen, as things begin to start, we’re going to see and have started to see a little bit of an increased demand as elective surgeries restart,” said Jay Bonafede, Chief Communications Officer.
18 News spoke with Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital who is facing a shortage of blood, but not because of the pandemic.
“Our blood supply has been good,” said Nicole Osman, Director of Clinical Laboratory at Guthrie Robert Packer. “However the last two days we have seen a shortage of own negative type units. But over the COVID crisis we have not seen a shortage in our units of blood from the Red Cross.”
Osman said that with elective surgeries, the hospital has time to find and request for the blood.
The shortage they are facing is blood type O-Negative, the universal blood type, but Osman said it’s not un common. They usually see a shortage during the summertime. She also said if another hospital is in need of blood, Robert Packer would donate as others would do for them.
18 News also reached out to Cayuga Health Systems who is not facing a surplus or shortage, but just enough to get by.
“Blood supplies are tight,” said John Turner, Vice President of Public Relations at Cayuga Health Systems. “But we’re able to meet the needs of our current surgical volumes at Schuyler and Cayuga Medical Center.”
The Red Cross urges donors to schedule an appointment online ahead of time. They also are asking people who recovered from Covid-19 to also give blood, part of their plasma donation program.