Red Cross: Urgent call for blood donations to prevent crisis at hospitals

(WZAW) -- As the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the U.S., a significant number of blood drives have been cancelled, and the American Red Cross now faces a shortage of blood for hospital patients in need. Blood drives are being cancelled at workplaces, college campuses and other sites as more people are being told to work from home and practice social distancing.

The American Red Cross tweeted that due to an “unprecedented” number of blood drive cancellations, there is a “severe blood shortage.” (Source: @RedCross/Twitter/CNN)

As of March 12, approximately 600 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled across the country, resulting in nearly 18,000 fewer blood donations. If current trends continue, it is predicted that available blood on the shelves will reach dangerously low levels, putting patients in need at risk.

This is an unprecedented challenge, and the Red Cross is distributing blood to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. The Red Cross is strongly urging healthy, eligible individuals to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets as soon as possible.

Donating blood is a safe process and the Red Cross is taking additional precautions to ensure it is even safer for donors and staff at each blood drive and donation center.

There is no data or evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.

One of the most important things people can do to prevent another health care crisis, on top of the coronavirus outbreak, is to give blood.