Holidays plus omicron result in largest blood shortage in a decade


SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – The American Red Cross is in crisis, and nation is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. It’s been so bad that some hospitals have had to limit blood distributions to hospitals. The Red Cross says the holiday season, plus the surge in COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant, have become a problematic combination.

New York Eastern Region Red Cross spokesman Dan Hartman said the end of the year holidays always bring a decline in donations. But this year, along with the realities of a surge in the COVID virus, means fewer people are donating

“Certainly the pandemic continues to be a factor,” said Hartman. “And in recent months, blood donor turnout has really plummeted because of the variant that has affected this region and across the country.”

Hartman said the Red Cross likes to have several days supply of blood in the blood bank. Right now, they are down to a one-day supply. And while the supply is low, the need continues.

“There are going to be trauma patients. There are going to be folks with chronic illnesses who need blood transfusions,” Hartman said. “So the need for blood is constant. “Yes there is an ebb and flow of when people show up to blood drives, but if you are a healthy blood donor right now we urge you to come out because there is a huge need.”

Anyone interested in giving blood can find upcoming blood drives online. There are also blood donor apps for iOS and Android that can help donors find places to give blood.