American Red Cross concerned about blood supply as COVID-19 cases rise across Alabama

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Red Cross said they are worried that bloody supply could be close to critical due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.

Annette Rowland, spokesperson for Alabama Red Cross, said they saw a record turnout of donors during the summer, but the main issue was blood drives being canceled.

“We were seeing those record number of cancellations and understandably, so you had schools closing, business closing so we didn’t have places to hold blood drives anymore as well as our staff being affected by those because their children were out of school and so I think everyone has to remember what it felt like in the beginning of COVID,” Rowland said. “Now that we’ve been in this for quite a while, we have a better grasp of the procedures and how to keep people safe.”

Rowland said in the Alabama and Mississippi region, they saw about 4,000 blood donations in July with 226 blood drives held. Blood drives decreased to 194 in August but saw a rise in donations to 8,300.

In September, the American Red Cross said they had a big turnout of 11,900 blood donations but 182 blood drives.

Overall, Rowland said blood drives and donations are declining as we near the end of the year.

“We definitely want to make sure we’re not returning to that time where the need was immense. There were hospitals that didn’t have enough blood because we weren’t seeing those blood donors come out because people were scared,” she said. “We were seeing those elective surgeries being canceled and we still needed that blood demand so we are hoping we don’t get back to that level.”

The American Red Cross is having a blood drive at Cahaba Brewing Company on Monday, Nov. 23 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

To find a blood drive near you, click here.


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