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Red Cross in need of donors as blood supply plummets to a dangerous 10 year low

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 6:07 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2021 at 11:39 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The American Red Cross is in crisis mode. Its blood supply has hit a new low making it the worst shortage it has seen in a decade. Here in Virginia, there’s been a 41% drop in new donors.

“Last year, you saw a drop in 35% nationwide of people who are eligible to donate to do so, but in Virginia that has impacted us, even more, we’re actually at a 41% drop in the past year of eligible donors,” Red Cross Spokesperson Christy Carneal said.

The blood supply in many hospitals right now is only lasting half a day. Usually, health systems aim for a five-day supply.

Governor Ralph Northam and Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin came together Wednesday, December 22nd, urging Virginians to donate and volunteer.

“Our blood supplies are with the American Red Cross are really at a ten-year low,” Governor Northam said.

“This is a time where we’re thinking about giving gifts and the gift of donating blood is one of the best gifts we can give,” Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin said. “We are in a crisis level of blood stocks right now.”

COVID-19 only exacerbated the issue as the pandemic canceled many blood drives, and at the same time, overwhelmed several hospitals.

“As you see that hospitals are full or have fewer bed space, that does mean their staff is much busier and we don’t want to compound that when they’re having to make more hard decisions than they normally have to do,” Carneal said.

Alan Crouch heard about the need and decided to roll up his sleeve.

“I’ve been donating for years, I haven’t done it in a couple years but decided that with things going on in the world and the need, I’d come in and donate today,” Crouch said.

He has a message for anyone who is hesitant to donate.

“It’s a very easy process, pain-free, and it helps out a lot of people so it’s worth the little bit of discomfort there may be, a short amount of time, less than a half-hour you’re in and out,” Crouch said. “You’re helping out a lot of people by doing it.”

In order to get more blood for those who need it, the Red Cross also needs more volunteers. Many of them left to help alleviate the devastation in Kentucky from the tornado outbreaks there.

“Those numbers of people that are volunteering are going down and the more people we have, the more services we can provide”

If you want to sign up to donate, click here. If you don’t see many slots open now, Carneal says to look ahead to dates in January.

You also may need to expand your search beyond your immediate zip code so that you can view all donation opportunities in the Richmond area.

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