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Red Cross experiencing blood shortage during the pandemic

Posted at 4:12 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 13:55:14-05

The pandemic has taken a toll on many things in our lives and the American Red Cross says it's also impacted blood supplies. As the holidays approach, the organization says there is a critical need.

"Yes, people need to take care of themselves, be safe, be socially distant from one another, but giving blood is an essential activity and we need people to respond now," said Paul Sullivan of the American Red Cross.

Sullivan says blood supplies are low, with more than 100,000 blood drives canceled since the COVID-19 pandemic started. While some have been replaced, it's been challenging.

"Where we would normally collect blood in terms of schools, places of worship, community centers --- some of those locations are not currently operating or obviously not bringing together the same numbers of people," said Sullivan.

Coronavirus convalescent plasma is also now being collected by the Red Cross. Those are the antibodies from someone recovering from COVID-19 that can be used to help someone who is battling it.

"So, the blood program has only become more important in a time when it's more challenging to get more people to come out," said Sullivan.

The Red Cross says they are taking every precaution to keep blood drives safe, including temperature checks, questionnaires and even more cleaning. They are also urging people to make appointments. You can find a list of blood drives by clicking here.