MOUNT VERNON — Last Friday’s storm resulted in significant power outages in Ohio, but that specifically did not cause the blood supply shortages for the American Red Cross in Ohio. And there is a shortage. June blood donations were already significantly lower than expected. The Red Cross is urging people who can donate blood to do so now.
“We had a small chapter blood drive yesterday in Coshocton County,” said Kelly Brenneman, executive director of the American Red Cross, “They only collected four to five units toward a goal of 15.” She added, “If that keeps happening [statewide], we’re going to have a shortage.”
Brenneman explained that there are two levels to qualify a blood supply need. A shortage begins as an “urgent” need and can escalate to “critical.” She stated, “Currently we’re just approaching urgent and we don’t want it to proceed any further than that.”
Power outages, fallen trees and other storm impacts mean that blood donors have been unable to get to donor centers and blood drives. Dozens of Red Cross blood drives have been canceled, resulting in the shortfall of nearly 1,700 units of blood and platelets in affected areas.
Summer is also a challenging time to maintain an adequate blood supply. Families go on vacation, schools are out of session and many companies do not host blood drives because their employees are on extended leave. Yet summer is also a time when people are traveling or are more active out-of-doors and as Brenneman said, “have more accidents or mishaps.”