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American Red Cross reports staggering low blood supply numbers

Posted at 8:47 AM, Oct 25, 2021

MISSOULA — The American Red Cross where they say since the surge of COVID-19 cases in August, they have seen a significant drop in blood donations and supply, which they say is a scary place to be.

Red Cross Montana Recruitment District Manager Carmen Madsen says the national blood inventory is the lowest it has been during this time of year since 2015.

Out of the population eligible to give blood, only 2% actually donate. Madsen says this is alarming because they normally see a recovery of blood supply this time of year, with back to school.

Currently, there is less than a day’s supply of blood for some blood types, and for type O blood, there is less than half a day’s supply. Madsen says that ideally, the Red Cross needs to have a five-day supply for every blood type.

“The American Red Cross nationally must collect an additional 10,000 units, each week, over the next month to recover the blood supply," said Madsen. "So as I was saying right now we're so low blood, and there was a day's supply that I was talking about. Think about that. We have to collect an additional 10,000 units from what we've been collecting. So that's a really challenging place to be.”

One pint of blood can save up to three lives, so the need for blood is consistent and constant.

Madsen noted they will accept donations from people who have had COVID-19, another illness, or have received the COVID vaccine. The Red Cross does ask that people completely recover before donating and that you know what vaccine they received.

The Red Cross is asking that those looking to donate, sign up online first.