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'We’re doing as much as we can' | Blood centers report dangerously low levels of blood supply

If the blood supply doesn't stabilize soon, hospitals may have to postpone lifesaving treatment, according to the American Red Cross

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The American Red Cross said it’s facing its biggest shortage of blood in a decade. Three major blood banks, including the American Red Cross, are sending a joint message – if the United States blood supply doesn’t stabilize soon, blood may not be available for people depending on it to survive.

“Historically, right now, we've never seen our donation levels drop this low," Mariana Vimbela, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said. "And it's really concerning for us because these are minimums that we haven't seen in over a decade.” 

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Blood donations are usually lower during the holiday season, but this year blood centers are faced with additional challenges. With many people working from home, blood centers are seeing lower donor turnout and blood drives are being regularly canceled. 

The American Red Cross said it normally keeps three days of inventory. Right now, it’s struggling to have enough supply to last one day.

“Every two seconds, someone needs blood," Vimbela said. "That may be because of an accident. A mother who's giving birth might need a blood. It may be someone who's going through a disease, some sort of sickness.” 

You don’t have to be vaccinated to donate. The biggest need is for blood type O.  You can find the nearest blood center by calling the American Red Cross, visiting its website or download the app.

“The concern is that this could force hospitals to hold off on essential blood transfusion for patients," Vimbela said. "So for us, that’s why we’re doing as much as we can."

One donation can be enough to save three lives.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.