The American Red Cross said its blood supply is down 25% since August and is now critically low.
They said there are many factors contributing to the shortage, including a busy traveling year and disasters like Hurricane Idalia. A major impact is also coming from the amount of donations at blood drives hosted by businesses according to the Red Cross.
Regional Communications Director for the Red Cross Nicole Roschella said about 800,000 annual donations came from businesses blood drives before the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that dropped about 40% to about 500,000 over the past few years.
“A lot of times those blood drives at businesses are very convenient for people. They can go on their lunch hour, or whatever it is, take an hour out of their workday,”
“A lot of times those blood drives at businesses are very convenient for people. They can go on their lunch hour, or whatever it is, take an hour out of their workday,” Roschella said.
Officials said school blood drives going down is not as great of an impact as the business drives but is another factor.
Bishop McCort Catholic High School French teacher and National Honors Society Coordinator, which hosts its blood drives, Mary Clare Piatak said the school used to host four or five drives each school year, but now two is the standard.
“We do a tough scramble to get our two blood drives, our appointment, populated,”
She said there is slightly less donations, equaling about 10 pints, per drive even with about half as many.
The blood drives at Bishop McCort will be December 4th and March 18th, and school officials said people outside of students are invited to donate on those days but they hope to get as many students as possible.
“It’s a struggle to get student donors. Something in the pandemic just said to students, made them a bit hesitant about donating, so we’re trying to recultivate that culture.”
Forest Hills Superintendent David Lehman said they are hosting one blood drive this year for students and community members but are “open to expansion to support the cause.”
The Red Cross also urges the public to make an appointment on their own if a drive is not happening where they work or go to school.