BOSTON, MA — As we mark January being National Blood Donor Month, The American Red Cross has had to declare its first-ever national blood crisis, and it's making a desperate plea for blood donations.
Earlier this month the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of the most needed blood types.
"Since December, the Red Cross has had to restrict the amount of blood that's going to area hospitals," said Kelly Isenor of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. "Nationwide, it's about one out of every four requests we're able to fill."
COVID has led to a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood, and a 62% drop in donations from schools and colleges. It's the worst national shortage in a decade.
"It's one of those situations where we don't know where the need is going to be, but we have to do everything we can to make sure the blood is there when it's needed," said Isenor.
Caryn Goulet signed up to give blood in Dedham, MA after getting a text alert about the desperate need.
"Everybody is tired. Everybody is busy, nobody feels like going out, but I just say, figure if it's one of my family members who needs the transfusion. I just have to do it," said Goulet.
All types of blood are needed, especially type O, the universal blood type.
The Red Cross also says these dangerously low blood supplies are forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who gets blood transfusions and who doesn't.
One quarter of hospitals' needs aren't being met.
"We all realize hat this blood supply can't stay this low for this long without the thought of some pretty dire things happening," Isenor said.
The Red Cross says if you donate blood in January, there's an incentive. You'll be entered for a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles.