Blood supply at concerning level

Local Red Cross chapter says donations are down 10% compared to an average year
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 10:03 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Some areas of the country are experiencing serious blood shortages that have slowed the pace of certain elective surgeries. According to the American Red Cross, that is not the case here right now. However, it is an ongoing concern.

The Red Cross needs nearly 800 units of blood every week here in northwest Ohio to keep up with the demand. Keeping up with that demand has been a real challenge in recent months.

Rachel Hepner-Zawodny heads up the Northwest Ohio Chapter of The American Red Cross.

“We’re continuing to be in a challenging spot.”

Rachel says blood donations here are down 10%t this year compared to an average year. “We are not where we need to be right now.”

About 775 units are needed every week. “Right now we are still meeting the demand, but that could change at any time.”

A drop in donations around the country has meant changes in some situations.

“Nationwide, some hospitals are taking things on a case by case basis and that can be scary for people.”

According to the Red Cross that is not the case here at this point.

“It could happen here at any time, and we don’t want that to happen.”

To add insult to injury, the summer season is always one of slowest times for blood donations. The pandemic certainly added a new layer of challenges.

“A year ago the challenges were canceled blood drives, quarantining staff, and people afraid to go out. Now our challenge is that people are going out, there are more cars on the road. That can mean more accidents and more trauma. That means we need more blood donations.”

While there’s a serious need for more donations, Ohioans have a history of being a big part of the solution.

“To put things in perspective, Ohio collects more blood than any state in the country. So what we do here is vital to the nation.”

The hope is that people in our corner of the state will continue to roll up their sleeves.

“You can save up to three lives. It could be yours, or someone you know or love. We just never want to get into a situation that puts our community and our hospitals at risk.”

You can donate blood every 56 days, so if you’ve been thinking about becoming a donor or you haven’t given in awhile, now is an important time to do that.

You can get connected to the Red Cross, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to have any questions answered or make an appointment.

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