“There’s always a shortage of blood, but [the pandemic] just heightened what we need now,” Cornell Foster, a mobile operator for the American Red Cross, told The Epoch Times.
“The hospitals still need to run, and they still need blood, so it’s always going to be a shortage.”
Foster was speaking during a Jan. 14 blood drive at the Costa Mesa Senior Center, where donators arrived for their scheduled appointments and received a temperature check, in compliance with COVID safety protocols, prior to entering the main room.
Before giving blood, donors were assessed for eligibility and received a brief physical exam.
While blood is not necessarily given out more during COVID-19, the shortage arose due to the nature of the pandemic, which encouraged people to remain home as much as possible. With many people staying inside, there has been a decrease in donations to organizations such as the American Red Cross.
Tracy Olsen, a registered nurse with the Red Cross, told The Epoch Times that they are working hard to get donations of blood, which will directly go to hospital patients.
Olsen said that near the beginning of the pandemic, she was pleasantly surprised with people still coming to donate blood, which she speculated was likely to do with freer schedules or those wanting to help their community.
“We had a nice amount of people coming [to donate] at the beginning, [now] we’re starting to see more what we’re used to, where we are having more people not showing up and things like that,” Olsen said. “So, with that we’re really pushing to get as many people to come in as we can.”
The Red Cross is holding blood drives nearly every day.
At the Jan. 14 drive, the organization hoped for at least 50 donations, and recommended those looking to donate allot themselves about an hour of time from start to finish, especially if it’s their first time.
Those interesting in giving blood can make an appointment online.
The Red Cross is also looking for donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19, noting that plasma in the blood of those who had the virus may contain antibodies that can be a possible treatment for current COVID-19 patients.