Red Cross experiencing emergency blood, platelet shortage

Bundles of blood samples and vials are taken to storage during a blood drive. Signal file photo

As blood donor turnout reaches the lowest levels of the year amid historically low inventory levels, the American Red Cross announced it’s experiencing an emergency blood and platelet shortage.

Eligible and healthy donors of all blood types, especially type O, are strongly urged to make an appointment to provide life-saving blood products to patients and help to overcome the shortage.

Blood distribution has significantly outpaced blood donation in recent weeks, leading the Red Cross to report it must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month for the blood supply to recover and meet hospital and patient needs.

In fact, the national blood inventory is the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 2015, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types available, while the supply of types O positive and negative — the most needed by hospitals — dropped to a less than a half-day supply at times over the last month, according to a Red Cross news release.

“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the Red Cross, said in a prepared statement. “While it’s clear the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on our minds, the Red Cross asks the public to remember donating blood and platelets is essential to the many patients that rely on lifesaving transfusions every day.”

Donors must be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old.

A number of Red Cross donation drives are scheduled in the coming weeks in the Santa Clarita Valley, including 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Best Buy, located at 26531 Bouquet Canyon Road, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, located at 24500 Town Center Drive, among others. For more information or to sign up for an appointment, visit 

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