Donating blood critical amid nationwide shortage

Now in the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, with many hospitals struggling amid the omicron surge, blood donations are critically important.

Yet fewer people are donating blood than in the past for a host of reasons, including staffing shortages, low donor turnout and the recent winter storms, sources said.

“We are experiencing one of the worst blood shortages that we’ve seen in a decade,” said Maya Franklin, regional communications director for the Greater Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross, which serves 5.5 million people across 51 counties in North and South Carolina, including Stanly.

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of people donating blood has declined by about 10 percent, Franklin said.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and an estimated one in seven patients will need a blood transfusion in a hospital.

To help encourage more people to donate, Gov. Roy Cooper, who gave blood last week at the American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina, proclaimed January as Blood Donation Month.

“We want people to know that there is no substitute for blood,” Franklin said. “It can only come from volunteer donors.”

There are several upcoming Red Cross blood drives set to take place throughout the county. Here are a few during the next few weeks:

  • Feb. 1 – Stanly County Family YMCA (427 N. 1st St.) from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 2 – VFW Post 2908 (119 Anderson Road) from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 18 – Lowe’s in Albemarle (814-14 N.C. Highway 24-27 Bypass East) from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 22 – Memorial Baptist Church in Norwood (873 Pee Dee Ave.) from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit redcrossblood.org. If people are interested in hosting their own blood drives, they can contact the Albemarle Red Cross office at 704-982-0070.