HUDSON -- The American Red Cross and its hospital partners across the nation are experiencing a blood shortage.
Usually, the hospitals look to have a three-to-five-day supply, American Red Cross Wisconsin Communications Director Justin Kern said. Right now, most are down to a one-to-two-day supply.
“Thinking proactively, we’re really pushing for folks to make an appointment and donate blood,” Kern said.
The Red Cross needs to collect more than a thousand additional blood donations in order to meet current hospital needs.
Here’s what to know about the shortage:
Cause of shortage
The shortage is due to a combination of factors, Kern said.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing, many hospitals are returning to procedures such as elective surgeries and organ transplants that had been put on hold.
Hospitals have also seen a rise in trauma-related cases, including car accidents and violent crime.
The Red Cross saw an amazing run of people donating blood during the pandemic, Kern said. But now the typical downturn of summer is combining with people being vaccinated or feeling more comfortable resuming activities and travel. That often means donating blood is not the top of the mind, Kern said.
Combined, these factors have resulted in a dip in appointments
Type O and platelet donations are among the highest needs.
Type O blood, and especially the universal Type O negative is in high need. The universal blood type is useful in trauma instances, when doctors need to work quickly, Kern said.
Platelets are needed for use in cancer treatments and surgeries.
The donation process is more intensive for platelets than other blood donations, and takes about two to three hours.
How to donate
Those interested in donating blood can find drives and make an appointment at redcrossblood.org.
Types of blood donations include whole blood, platelet, power red and AB plasma donation.
Donors must meet eligibility requirements involving height, weight, age and more.
Where to donate
Donors can visit any donation site or blood bank regardless of county or state lines. Donations are distributed to the areas of greatest need regardless of donation location.
Platelet donations are made at blood centers only. Nearby blood donation centers are located in the Twin Cities and in St. Paul
July 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., O’Connell Family Funeral Home at 520 11th St.
July 30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Citizens State Bank at 375 Stageline Road.
July 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., St. Croix County Services Center at 1752 Dorset Lane.
Aug. 3, noon to 6 p.m., First Lutheran Church at 218 County Road K.
Aug. 5, noon to 6 p.m., American Legion Butler-Harmon Post 80 at 1260 Wall St.
July 21, 2-7 p.m., Congregational United Church of Christ a t1001 Birch Drive
Aug. 5, noon to 5 p.m., Cross Lutheran Church at 1246 County Road TT
July 30, noon to 6 p.m., American Legion Post 111 at 464 County Road VV
Aug. 2, 1-7 p.m., Christ Lutheran Church at 510 Germain
July 23, noon to 6 p.m., St. John Lutheran Church at S. 520 Church Ave.
Host a drive
Community organizations interested in hosting a drive can reach out to the American Red Cross. Setting one up does take time, Kern said.
The American Red Cross currently has great hosts throughout St. Croix County, Kern said. The reopening of schools will likely be a boost as well, as many were not able to host drives while remote during the pandemic.