The Blood Bank of Delmarva declared a blood emergency following a summer of low donor turnout as well as the increased need for blood as a result of summer activities. Contributing to the shortage was the recent Labor Day holiday, back-to-school activities, and a 50% decrease in youth donors since 2019.
The region’s blood supply is well below the usual five to seven-day supply. While all blood types are needed, type O negative, O positive and platelets are critically low. Blood shortages are occuring across the U.S.
The sustained loss of youth and first-time donors, fewer organizations hosting blood drives, and remote and blended work schedules are all combined for a devastating impact on our local blood supply as well as the nation’s blood supply, the blood bank noted.
“The days of having a blood drive at your place of work, your place of worship, every school and college have drastically changed due to the pandemic, and we need community members to go out of their way to make a donation,” said Blood Bank Vice President Emily Cunningham. “It is critical that our community visit our donor centers and donate in order to provide hospitals with the life-saving blood that is needed in our community. You never know when you’ll need blood, so please donate blood as soon as you can and then commit to donating regularly to help us prepare for the fall and winter months.”
In addition to youth and first-time donors, Emily and Executive Director, BBD Blood Operations Steve Corse are also encouraging African American and Hispanic Americans to donate blood during Sickle Cell Awareness Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. African Americans comprise 22% to 30% of Delmarva’s population but are only 5% of total blood donors.
One in three African American donors is a match for sickle cell patients who can require hundreds of transfusions each year. Hispanics comprise 10% of the local population and just 2% of blood donors with an estimated 60% have in-demand type O blood.
BBD also asked recently relocated retirees to donate blood. Local residents are asked to schedule an appointment by calling 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or going to www.delmarvablood.org