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Officials Warn of Shortage, Call for Blood Donations

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz. Photo credit: Nicole McIsaac (courtesy CTNewsJunkie.com)

Bloods drives are held every Tuesday at West Hartford Town Hall, and appointments can be scheduled through the American Red Cross website.

American Red Cross Blood Drives continue at West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

By Nicole McIsaac,CTNewsJunkie.com

“We have a one day blood supply and that puts us in a precarious situation,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said Wednesday at a press conference to draw attention to the situation.

“Ideally, we need a five day blood supply so that we have enough to take care of the people of our state,” she said.

Bysiewicz joined officials from the American Red Cross and Connecticut Hospital Association to encourage residents of all blood types to donate.

“We all, I think, take it for granted sometimes that there will be blood available when we need it,” Interim President at the University of Connecticut and CEO of UConn Health Dr. Andy Agwunobi said. “But people donate that blood, it isn’t created in a lab.”

The American Red Cross has distributed 12% more blood this year to hospitals across the U.S. than it did last year. A rise in trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries are all putting demands on the blood supply, officials said.

Although blood shortages are common in the summer, COVID-19 has left health officials seeking for additional donors unlike before.

Patients who were deferred care during the height of COVID-19 are presenting more advanced disease progression, resulting in a higher need for blood transfusions and demand for more donors.

Officials are now calling for donations.

What you need to know

“We’re following all of the safety protocols as we have been,” Chief Operating Officer for the American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region Richard Branigan said. “These are systems that are in place in combination with the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration.”

Individuals are encouraged to make an appointment prior to showing up for their donation in order to guarantee a spot and to help health officials maintain a steady supply of blood and resources to allocate.

Residents can schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets by visiting the website, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by facilitating the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo Device.

To save time, donors can complete a RapidPass that includes a pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire that can be completed online, the day of donation and from a mobile device or computer. The RapidPass can also be completed through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Individuals must bring a blood donor card, drivers license or two other forms of identification to check in. Minors under the age of 16 must retrieve parental consent before donating and meet certain weight and height requirements to donate. Any individual over the age of 18 and in good health are welcomed to make a donation.

“It is something that everyone can do,” Bysiewicz said. “It’s a way to give back, it’s patriotic.”

The need for blood will continue.

“Become a member of the community of blood donors,” Senior Vice President of Policy for the Connecticut Hospital Association Paul Kidwell said. “I think you’ll find if you haven’t done it before, it’s a really amazing community of people that you get to know and appreciate, people who are willing to make a small sacrifice of time for their neighbors.”

Republished with permission from CTNewsJunkie.com, all rights reserved.

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