NEW YORK (WWTI) — Donations are needed as the country’s blood supply is hitting historically low levels, according to the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross, along with AABB and America’s Blood Center issued a joint statement on December 13 addressing the low blood supply and urging blood donations.

All three confirmed that blood centers across the United States are reporting less than a one-day supply of blood, which is considered a “dangerously” low level, and if this supply does not stabilize soon, “lifesaving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed.”

Additionally, some hospitals across the country have been forced to alter treatment plans for some patients or cancel surgeries due to these challenges. In the country, 16 million units of blood and products are transfused annually with more than 45,000 units needed every day.

The group said that the current blood supply level in the country is concerning during the holiday season and winter months as this is a time where donations decrease due to travel, inclement weather and seasonal illnesses.

A decline in donor turnout has also been experienced this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. All three organizations reported disruptions and declines due to factors such as remote work, blood drive cancellations, schools and businesses limited onsite and misinformation regarding donor eligibility after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

In response to these rates, the trio stated the following:

AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross are joining together to urge eligible, healthy individuals to contact their local blood center and make an appointment today to donate blood today. We also ask local businesses to encourage their employees, including those working remotely, to find their local center and schedule an appointment to donate and give the gift of life this holiday season. Doing so is essential to maintaining the stability of the nation’s blood supply, which ensures life-saving medical treatments are available for patients.  

Local blood drives and collections and donation appointments can be made on the AABB, America’s Blood Centers or American Red Cross website.

Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized in the U.S., including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, are able to donate blood and platelets as long as they are symptom-free