Blood donation Stock art

The American Red Cross has issued a call for donors. 

The American Red Cross and its hospital partners across the nation are experiencing a blood shortage. 

Usually, the hospitals look to have a three-to-five-day supply, American Red Cross Wisconsin Communications Director Justin Kern said. Right now, most are down to a one-to-two-day supply. 

“Thinking proactively, we’re really pushing for folks to make an appointment and donate blood,” Kern said. 

The Red Cross needs to collect more than a thousand additional blood donations in order to meet current hospital needs. 

Here’s what to know about the shortage:

1. Cause of shortage

The shortage is due to a combination of factors, Kern said. 

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing, many hospitals are returning to procedures such as elective surgeries and organ transplants that had been put on hold. 

Hospitals have also seen a rise in trauma-related cases, including car accidents and violent crime. 

The Red Cross saw an amazing run of people donating blood during the pandemic, Kern said. But now the typical downturn of summer is combining with people being vaccinated or feeling more comfortable resuming activities and travel. That often means donating blood is not the top of the mind, Kern said. 

Combined, these factors have resulted in a dip in appointments 

2. Highest need

Type O and platelet donations are among the highest needs. 

Type O blood, and especially the universal Type O negative is in high need. The universal blood type is useful in trauma instances, when doctors need to work quickly, Kern said. 

Platelets are needed for use in cancer treatments and surgeries. 

The donation process is more intensive for platelets than other blood donations, and takes about two to three hours. 

3. How to donate

Those interested in donating blood can find drives and make an appointment at redcrossblood.org

Types of blood donations include whole blood, platelet, power red and AB plasma donation. 

Donors must meet eligibility requirements involving height, weight, age and more. 

4. Where to donate

Donors can visit any donation site or blood bank regardless of county or state lines. Donations are distributed to the areas of greatest need regardless of donation location. 

Platelet donations are made at blood centers only. Nearby blood donation centers are located in the Twin Cities and in St. Paul.

Donor opportunities in August locally include:

Cannon Falls

Aug. 18, 1-7 p.m., St. Pius V Catholic Church, 410 W. Colvill St.

Goodhue

Aug. 24, 1-7 p.m., Lions Community Center, 105 Broadway.

Prescott

Aug. 16, 1-6 p.m., Joy Lutheran Church, 1435 St. Croix St.

Red Wing

Aug. 12, 1-7 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 615 W. Fifth St.

Aug. 13, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., First Lutheran Church.

Aug. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 306 W. Fourth St.

River Falls 

Aug. 25, noon to 6 p.m., River Falls Library, 140 Union St.

Wanamingo

Aug. 31, noon to 6 p.m., Community Center, 401 Main St.

Zumbrota

Aug. 17, noon to 6 p.m., VFW, 505 W. 98th St.

Aug. 23, noon to 6 p.m., United Redeemer Lutheran Church, 560 W. Third St.

5. Host a drive

The American Red Cross will come to you. Community organizations interested in hosting a drive can reach out at www.redcrossblood.org

The reopening of local college campuses will likely be a boost as well, as many were not able to host drives this summer or during heightened pandemic restrictions this spring.

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