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Red Cross national blood shortage impacting CNY, donors urgently needed

Blood donor Michael Smith gives the thumbs up sign at a recent blood drive in CNY.
Red Cross of CNY
Blood donor Michael Smith gives the thumbs up sign at a recent blood drive in CNY.

The Red Cross is dealing with the worst blood shortage in 20 years and it’s also impacting Central New York. The organization is attributing the rise of people getting ill this winter with respiratory illnesses for the steep decline. Donations fell nearly 7,000 units during the Christmas break. CNY Chapter Executive Director Lisa Smith encourages those who are feeling well to donate because they’re experiencing a lot of cancellations.

“After the holidays, there's always that dip. But I think it's exacerbated with just people's health. There's so much flu and COVID flying around that cancellations are still we're starting to see a lot of cancellations.”

January is National Blood Donor Month and there are a variety of locations holding drives. However, Smith suggests community partners schedule their own blood drives by giving them a call.

"To have blood drives in their office buildings or in their schools or in the churches, and be willing to promote and get their members or their employees or their students to donate blood. So, it really takes a village. It's really a group effort.”

Smith says the Central New York Red Cross is already behind in donations by at least 13 percent which is already considered to be too high as January has just begun. She reminds people to consider there are patients in need of routine blood transfusions for medical conditions and patients at hospitals who may have their surgeries delayed because of the shortage. There are also donors needed for platelets and plasma. More details can be found at the Red Cross website or 1-800-Red-Cross.