Blood donors needed for upcoming drive
Supply issues have been a problem throughout the pandemic, including blood supply. According to the American Red Cross, there has been a 10 percent decrease in the number of blood donors since March 2020.
Executive Director for the American Red Cross in Northern MN Dan Williams says this is the worst blood shortage in the eight years he has been with the organization.
"The worry that we see with our blood collection staff and our leadership is making sure that the blood supply for hospitals is adequate, is what folks are going to need," Williams said.
In addition to fewer people donating, the American Red Cross has also been unable to host as many blood drives as usual due to staffing difficulties associated with the pandemic.
"It makes it all the more critical when we have blood drives that we fill them up, that we make sure we are collecting every unit we can so that it makes a difference for people that need it," said Williams.
While walk-ins are allowed, the American Red Cross strongly encourages people to sign up in advance when donating. Williams understands that sign-ups fill up quickly at times, but they do not always stay full.
"The biggest thing that we’re encouraging people right now is to be persistent," emphasized Williams. "So if you go to redcrossblood.org, you can search up blood drives in your area. If you happen to see that blood drives in your area are full, keep checking. Openings pop up, and it’s a really important time that you take the extra minute to check that every once in a while so you can find an opportunity that works for you. It really means a lot."
Next Friday, January 21st, there will be a drive at the Hibbing Memorial Building from 10am until 3pm. You can sign-up for a time at this link. Other drives near you can be found by putting your zip code in here.