Red Cross still struggling with low blood supply

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 18:38:07-05

IDAHO — The American Red Cross provides nearly 40% of the country’s blood supply and officials continue to stress that blood supply levels hit a historic low this year. Without the supply, people could face devastating impacts, like delays in care for those who need surgery.

If you head to the Red Cross’s website right now, appointments are limited in Idaho but staff says the need is constant.

“Even though our schedules are full, we’re still kind of struggling to keep up with the demand,” Idaho district donor recruitment manager Stephen Dalmas said.

When the holidays roll around, schools, workplaces and more close leaving fewer locations available for blood drives. Those who regularly donate fill the appointments quickly.

One blood donation can potentially save up to three lives. Although the American Red Cross has seen a historically small number of donations, Idahoans have stepped up.

“We see this downtick in donor presentation but with this new surge we have been experiencing, we have also lost locations,” Dalmas said. “When we do have a blood drive and we are able to get it out there on social media the people who are regular donors and committed to that process sign up quickly."

Over the last six months, just under 27,000 units have been collected from Idahoans.

“In Idaho specifically we do really well with blood collections in our communities so we’re definitely fortunate for that,” Dalmas said. “We have a phenomenal following in Twin Falls. We go down there every week, that is how much blood we collect from the Twin Falls area and that includes Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Jerome, Wendell all those small communities.”

One of the things needed now is blood diversity, specifically, type O blood.

“We have a diverse population in Idaho now so we need a diversity in our blood supply to face those medical issues that come up as a result,” Dalmas said.

American Red Cross officials encourage the public to continue to look for appointments, even as far as 21 days (about 3 weeks) out because there is always a constant need for a healthy supply. To look for appointments, click here.