While the American Red Cross has recovered from a severe shortage of blood donations since the initial COVID-19 surge, there is now an urgent need as stay-at-home orders are being lifted and the summer begins.
Summer months typically mean a decrease in donations because more people are away for vacation and there are less opportunities to host blood drives, such as at school events. This summer, however, there is also the added element that some elective surgeries and other procedures, which were put on hold because of the pandemic, are being performed again.
“We’re seeing in the last couple of weeks or so, a 30% sharp increase in demand from hospitals,” said Aly Barraza, communications director for biomedical services at the American Red Cross. “At this time, we are in an urgent need status.”
The Red Cross is also working with the FDA to collect convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Barraza said that thousands of those donation units have already been collected in the last few weeks and are given to hospitals to be administered to COVID patients.
Following CDC guidelines, new protocols are now in place for the donation process, too. This includes measures like having a temperature check before entering the donation area and wearing masks at all times.