Blood supply at critically low levels

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Blood supply in the United States is critically low right now. The American Red Cross recently announced it's facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. 

 Kristin Marlow an Executive Director with the American Red Cross said the blood shortage this year is caused by several things, one is the winter weather, and two, the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

“The Red Cross manages approximately 40 percent of the nation's blood supply. And we are actually in a position where we are in a critical level one that we haven’t seen a decade, ”Marlow said.

A shortage of blood supply during the winter months is typical, according to Marlow. But, she said this year is different. This season, winter storms have caused blood drive cancelations and donors are unable to get to locations. But, it’s also a time, when schools are out of session for winter break.

But, with the pandemic, many schools have gone virtual, and they’re not open. Marlow said typically, 25 percent of donors nationally, are from the Gen-Z category who come from high school and college campuses.  She said this is one factor that has led to the national blood shortage we’re seeing today. 

“A lot of schools, because they’re not in session or are virtual, are not scheduling their traditional blood drives that we’ve counted on and others have counted on to replenish that supply,” Marlow said. “So, it's created a significant shortage in that category of the donor.” 

 To sign up for an appointment to donate blood go to Donate Blood | Find a Local Blood Drive | American Red Cross

 To help with the national blood shortage, and as part of national blood donation month, Niles Community Schools is hosting blood drives throughout January and is open to the public. 

Niles Community Schools Blood Drive Times and locations:

  • Friday, January 21 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Howard-Ellis Elementary School
  • Monday, January 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ring Lardner Middle School
  • Friday, January 28 from 8 a.m. to noon at Niles Administration and Education Center
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