The American Red Cross reported its need for blood donations is high after 370 blood drives were cancelled last week. The organization estimated that nationwide some 11,500 donations were not collected due to extreme cold brought by the polar vortex.
In the Twin Cities metro area, more than 4,600 blood and platelet donations went uncollected due to severe weather.
“The need for blood doesn’t stop for winter weather,” American Red Cross spokesperson Jessa Merrill said in a press release. “This month’s historic cold and snowy weather has caused blood drives from the Midwest to the East Coast to be cancelled and thousands of blood donations have gone uncollected.”
The partial shutdown of the federal government has affected a smaller number of donations. About 30 drives hosted by federal offices were canceled during the shutdown.
Donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand. The Red Cross aims to maintain a five-day supply.
“Disruptions to blood and platelet donations jeopardize the availability of blood for patients who depend on transfusions for survival,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We’re grateful for all those who have come out to give since we issued our emergency call earlier this month and now urge others to come out and give to prevent delays in essential medical care.”
According to the press release, “all eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients.”
Bethesda Lutheran Church (1947 110th Avenue, Dresser) is hosting a blood drive Feb. 7 from 12 to 6 p.m. To make an appointment, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org.