Today, the Blood Bank of Delmarva announced 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 are 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 optimal 5-7 day supply. While all blood types are needed, type O negative, O positive and platelets are critically low. Delmarva is not alone; blood shortages are endemic across the U.S., with all centers urgently calling for blood donations.
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. There is no surplus in the nation’s blood supply to supplement centers that experience seasonal shortages, including all five BBD donor centers. With fewer high schools hosting blood drives, youth and first-time donors did not have the opportunity these past few years to donate among peers and create a life-saving habit.
“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 BBD VP 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 as we observe Sickle Cell Awareness Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. African Americans are 22% to 30% of Delmarva’s population but just 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, but an estimated 60% have type O blood – the type most in demand at hospitals.
Last, but not least, BBD also encourages 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
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