Washington Blood Coalition says there is a critical need for blood donations

Us Health Virus Plasma
Mckinley Edelman, 26, a recovered COVID-19 patient, donates plasma to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital at Inova Blood Services on April 22, 2020 in Dulles, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SPOKANE, Wash.– A national blood shortage is adding even more pressure to hospitals already dealing with staffing shortages and high numbers of patients.

That’s why the Washington Blood Coalition is urging people to donate.

One organization, Vitalant, which serves about 35 hospitals in the Northwest said it’s experiencing a two-year low blood supply.

Part of the reason for the shortage is spikes in COVID-19 cases force the cancelation of blood drives. It also lowers the number of healthy donors.

“Now is the time when new blood donors, those that haven’t given in a while and regular donors are all needed to step up and help address this critical healthcare issue,” states Jennifer Hawkins, Vitalant Northwest Regional Director. “Only 3-percent of the eligible blood donor population actually donates. Shortages could be prevented If more people start donating. Please schedule an appointment in the upcoming weeks.”

Blood donations at Vitalant fell short of the need by more than 4,500 donations in December and the trend has continued into January.

Vitalant said another reason for the shortage is the severe winter weather that’s been hitting the Northwest.

To make an appointment or for more information, visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL.

RELATED: Home COVID tests to be covered by insurers starting Saturday

RELATED: Health officials let COVID-infected staff stay on the job