Urgent Need for Blood in Area as Donations Fall Off

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 13, 2022 at 2:46pm

An urgent need for blood is being felt in the area, and officials are concerned as donations have fallen off.

ImpactLife, which supplies blood for 126 hospitals in a four-state area that includes all of central and west-central Illinois, is echoing the concerns its national umbrella organization America’s Blood Centers is sounding about the conditions blood centers are facing currently.

Public Relations Manager for ImpactLife, Kirby Winn says the blood supply has fallen to alarming levels. “We have just a one to two-day supply of our Type O red blood cells. O positive and O negative can be transfused to all of the other blood types so there is always kind of extra pressure and need of those blood types.

Also, Type AB plasma is universal and can go to all the other blood groups and our platelets are low. There’s not a blood type associated with platelets, but they also are low. And across the board, not to say that we only need those O’s and AB’s, because all of our other blood types are at about a three-day supply, and we want to be at a five to seven-day supply.

What that means is that we have enough of course at the hospitals always, but also behind it at our distribution centers that we could continue to meet the daily needs, the ongoing use of blood for five to seven days, that’s where we want to be.”

Kirby says Impact Life strives to collect an average of 3600 donations on a weekly basis, however in recent weeks, the donation rate has ranged from 2500 to 2800 donations per week.

He says along with the expected drop in donations due to the holiday season and winter weather that hampers blood drives this time of year, effects on the blood supply due to the current COVID surge is also being felt at blood centers.

when infection rates increase, it means there’s a greater percentage of the population and therefore the donor base who have either been exposed to COVID-19 and they may be in some level of quarantine for a period of time, or they are really not feeling well.

And it’s not just COVID it’s cold and flu season and everything else that goes around this time of year. So we think those are the three factors, illness, weather, and the holidays, and it’s always challenging to recover from that period. But as we push later into the month and with good weather and good donor presentation we hope we can really reverse this trend.”

Winn says the use of blood remains constant at the hospitals ImpactLife serves, so it is imperative that the trend is reversed by scheduling additional donations in the days ahead.

To schedule, donors may call ImpactLife at (800) 747-5401, or schedule online at www.bloodcenter.org or via the ImpactLife mobile app (www.bloodcenter.org/app).