Red Cross in dire need of blood, platelet donations; especially looking for universal donors

Health

(WTNH) – People rely on lifesaving blood transfusions every day, but the pandemic is weighing on the nation’s blood supply. The American Red Cross is experiencing its lowest blood levels of the year.

Now, efforts are underway to get people to donate.

RELATED: Red Cross offering $5 gift card for lunch to people who donate blood in October

“If you do have type O blood, only about seven percent of the population does, your blood is needed throughout the year,” said Jocelyn Hillard, Regional Communications Director.

Type O is the universal donor, but the American Red Cross needs all donors while facing an emergency blood and platelet shortage.

“This is the lowest during this time of year since 2015. Normally, during the fall, we see an increase,” Hillard said.

COVID-19 changed behaviors. Schools and other outlets aren’t hosting drives this fall.

“Since the COVID Delta variant spiked in August, we’ve seen a ten percent decrease in blood donations. It’s so important today if you are eligible, if you haven’t made an appointment in a while, that you help, roll up your sleeves, and provide blood,” Hillard said.

On any given day, there are roughly 15 blood drives happening across Connecticut. Steve Sztaba is a 10-gallon donor who stopped by the First Church of Christ in Glastonbury to give back to his community.

“It’s important because there’s a tremendous need for people with elective surgeries and certainly emergencies that come up,” Sztaba said.

The goal is to have enough blood on hand to respond to people who may need it right away for emergencies like car crashes, and the Red Cross is giving away prizes to people who donate in the months of September and October.

“Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, but only about every three of 100 people donate. What’s so important is that there are many patients across the state, across the country that rely on life-saving blood.

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