Red Cross Blood Supply at Critical Levels

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The American Red Cross provides blood for patients in approximately 2,600 hospitals across the U.S.

The organization works to keep blood on the shelves for trauma and emergency situations.

But this winter, their blood supply is critically low.

Recent wintry weather – and the spreading flu virus – have cancelled a number of blood drives and kept regulars too sick to donate.

“So when that happens, all that blood that we had planned on, now we’re trying to make up for that,” said Kim Jensen with Red Cross of Eastern South Dakota.

The Red Cross estimates they are about 16,500 donations short just this month alone.

For an organization that collects about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, a shortage could have serious consequences.

“It can come down to the point where elective surgeries can be put on hold, maybe they have to be rescheduled. We are not at that point yet, but it’s going out as fast as its coming in. So as soon as it’s done with testing its going right out to the hospitals.”

The organization is now out for blood.

“If you’ve never donated blood before, please, this is the perfect time to come in and try.”

They’re making the process as easy as possible for those who are new to donating.

“Right now we have a technology driven younger age of people coming up, and that’s why we’ve developed a free donor app. You can go to the app store, download the red cross blood app. It will be your donor card, it will track your donations, it will tell you where your donations go once you’re done.”

The new “Rapid Pass” also lets donors fill out required medical information ahead of time, making the actual donation process a lot quicker.

More information on RapidPass can be found here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass

More information on upcoming area blood drives ca be found here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood