American Red Cross facing blood shortage as donation sites shutdown

Hospitals across the country are in dire need of blood donations, but there are fewer and fewer people showing up to give blood. That’s why Kathy Pasko decided to donate on Thursday.

“You know people undergoing emergency surgeries need blood. We need to keep doing this,” she said.

“That means 150,000 blood donations went uncollected through yesterday, and we expect that to get worse. Here in New Jersey, 4400 of those blood donations went uncollected,” said Diane Concannon, communications director for the American Red Cross.

Concannon says that’s because schools, offices and other sites that typically host blood drives are shut down.

Robert Riva was one of six people that showed up to donate blood during a two hours period. He’s urging others to do the same.

“I saw in the news this morning that there was a blood shortage and I had time to come out. It’s my way of trying to help out with the current situation going on in today’s world,” Riva said.

In an effort to recruit more donors, the American Red Cross is rolling out a series of measures to ensure everyone’s safety.

American Red Cross donor collection assistant Siddeequah Taylor explained that when people come in they have to sanitize their hands, read signs to ensure that no donor has traveled in the past 28 days, and have their temperature taken.

“We’re taking the temperature of our staff before they even report to work every day. We are practicing social distancing in the donor center,” said Concannon.

“I don’t think you could find a cleaner place than if you came here, and more safe,” said blood donor Gerriamne Breck.

“We don’t want a whole line of people waiting outside, so we are spacing the appointments. We are spacing the beds. We’re taking those precautions to make it safe,” added Concannon.