The American Red Cross has declared a blood crisis as the omicron COVID-19 variant continues to surge across the country.
Red Cross officials say they have seen a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood since the beginning of the pandemic.
Often, the number of blood donors declines when there is a rise in COVID-19 numbers, much like in August with the delta variant and now the omicron variant. Red Cross officials say this low turnout leaves doctors deciding who gets blood right away and who will have to wait until more blood is available.
“Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live even as Omicron cases surge across the country. We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors. We need the help of the American people,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said.
Red Cross says they supply 40% of the nation’s blood but they have had to limit blood distributions to hospitals over the last few weeks. In fact, officials said some hospitals may not receive “as much as one-quarter of the blood” they requested.
Officials say they need all blood types right now but especially types O positive and O negative.
Those interested in donating blood in the San Antonio area can visit the South Texas Blood and Tissue website for donation locations.