The weekend snowstorm blanketing much of Western Washington and Portland has created a dangerous dent in northwest local blood supply due to canceled blood drives and inability to travel to appointments, according to a Bloodworks Northwest press release.
The cancellations mean over 800 donations couldn’t be collected leaving the community in short supply of lifesaving blood and in urgent need of more donors.
“The snowstorm hit us at a time when our community blood supply is already experiencing a surge in hospital usage,” Bloodworks President and CEO Curt Bailey said in the release. “In the past three days we’ve collected only 52% of the blood components needed to support patients. Blood and platelet shortages like we’re experiencing now jeopardize the availability of blood for our local hospitals and trauma centers. The community must donate in the days and weeks ahead to rebuild the supply for patients who depend on lifesaving transfusions.”
It typically takes 1,000 people each day to make appointments to give blood at Bloodworks Donor Centers and Pop-Up Blood Drives happening throughout Western Washington.
Bloodworks is testing all blood donations in February for COVID-19 antibodies. Positive donors could become convalescent plasma donors and may help critically ill coronavirus patients directly. All donors through March 17 will be automatically entered for a chance to win a new car as a thank you for helping during this critical time.
“People with Type O and B negative blood and platelet donors are urgently needed this week, and all blood types are needed in February to help recover from the donations we were unable to collect due to the snow,” said Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson. “If you’re new to donating blood or you haven’t donated in a while, now is the time to schedule your appointment and keep the shelves stocked for local patients.”
Donations with Bloodworks provide 95% of the lifesaving blood supply to Pacific Northwest hospitals. It takes about an hour to give blood from check-in to post-donation cookie. Appointments and masks required.
In accordance with current social distancing guidelines, no walk-ins, guests, or people under age 16 are permitted onsite. Donors must wait two weeks after each COVID-19 vaccination dose for their next donation appointment. Bloodworks has posted information addressing questions and concerns for blood donors at www.bloodworksnw.org/coronavirus. Information about who can donate and where, is available at www.bloodworksnw.org.