NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The number of blood donations has dropped more than ever before. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Red Cross is asking Americans to restore the nation’s blood supply, which has fallen to critical levels.
The American Red Cross says we’re experiencing a severe blood shortage across the country.
They say summertime is typically a time when blood donations decline. But the supply is low from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic made it more difficult for people to donate and decreased the number of donors attending blood drives.
An uptick in elective surgeries this year – initially postponed from last year due to the pandemic – has also contributed to high demand. Additionally, the Connecticut chapter of the Red Cross said hospitals are responding to an unusually high number of traumas and emergency room visits, so demand is up while supply is down.
Donors are needed for all blood types, especially O because if doctors don’t know a patient’s blood type they can use O.
“As we are experiencing summertime it’s so important that we’re still maintaining that blood supply,” explained the Regional Communications Director for the Connecticut chapter of the Red Cross Jocelyn Hillard. “There are patients, there are children who rely on this lifesaving blood every single day. And they don’t get a summer break. They rely on this so it’s just more important than ever that you are making your blood donation.”
Hillard said the Red Cross has been following all CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe and, as an added incentive, the Red Cross is working with Amazon. Anyone who gives blood will receive a five-dollar Amazon gift card.
WEB EXTRA: News 8 is joined by Bob Fiore, President and Founder of the Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate, to talk about an important Mega Blood Drive that’s coming up.
See the full interview in the video above.