Red Cross urgently needs blood donors to keep up with demand as New York starts to reopen



SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The American Red Cross is urgently seeking people to donate blood, especially as Upstate New York continues to restart.

COVID-19 caused the cancellation of about 1,700 blood drives across New York at the beginning of the pandemic in March.

All of those cancelled blood drives translated into about 40,000 uncollected units of blood.

“The need for blood is constant, and that’s even during a pandemic,” says Katie Potter, Communications Manager for the American Red Cross Eastern and Western NY.

The State Fair stepped up early in the pandemic to provide a regular space at the Expo Center for blood donations.

Potter says the need for blood, for more drives, and donors are especially urgent now as New York opens back up.

“We’re seeing surgeries begin to resume, treatments begin to resume, with that in mind in recent weeks we’ve actually seen a significant increase in demand by about 30%,” she tells NewsChannel 9.

The goal is to avoid a shortage, Potter says, like they saw in March.

There’s especially a need for diverse donors now she says, “Diverse donors are especially needed to help support patients fighting sickle cell disease who need a very carefully and closely typed blood transfusion to manage their illness so that drop in African American blood donors comes as we’ve seen all those drive cancellations at churches and community locations and schools.”

Potter says safety is a top priority, especially now with COVID-19. Temperature checks are required for any potential donor before even getting into the building.

Masks are required for everyone inside, hand sanitizer is available throughout the space, and beds are properly distanced.

“If there’s one way you can give back and know you’re making a difference when there’s still so many unknowns this is one great way to do that,” Potter says.

The Red Cross says one donation could save up to three lives.

Click here to find a blood drive or donation opportunity that works for you.

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