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Red Cross says blood supply is dangerously low

The American Red Cross says blood donations are needed as the available supply is "dangerously...
The American Red Cross says blood donations are needed as the available supply is "dangerously low."(AP)
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 1:19 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Leaders with the American Red Cross say blood donations nationwide are dangerously low.

It’s the same story in southwest Virginia, where Red Cross Executive Director Jackie Grant said their usual five-day supply has often dwindled to less than a half-day supply.

“This is a dire time,” she said, calling the current shortage a 10-year low.

Grant said the pandemic is still causing a reduction in blood donations, but also said people donate less frequently during the holiday season. COVID-19 aside, seasonal illnesses like cold and flu also reduce the available donors.

To help meet the need, the American Red Cross is offering incentives to donors like T-shirts and Amazon gift cards.

Grant said when supplies are low, hospitals might have to postpone elective surgeries. The Roanoke area Red Cross also sent 200 units of blood to Kentucky on standby to help with tornado relief efforts. Local disaster relief volunteers have also made their way to Kentucky.

As far as eligibility requirements, Grant says vaccination status doesn’t matter. Though everyone in the donation centers is required to wear a mask. You must make an appointment through the Red Cross website or by calling a donation center. Grant recommends you drink plenty of water leading up to your appointment and consider taking a multivitamin.

You can watch our full conversation with Grant on the Digital News Desk here:

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