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Texas blood supply reaches emergency low levels

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 3:22 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - A nationwide blood shortage is affecting Texas, and the Texas Blood Institute says blood donations have reached emergency low levels.

High hospital usage has made the shortage even worse, meaning blood centers around the nation are short of all blood types heading into the upcoming July 4 holiday period.

The local blood supply is reportedly at a 1-2 day supply, well below the usual 4-5 day threshold Texas Blood Institute prefers to have on hand.

“In the past month, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in blood donations, an alarming development when we were already facing chronic shortfalls,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Texas Blood Institute. “The public is rightly enjoying the reawakening of social freedoms and a return to normalcy, but if celebrating this rebirth by giving blood does not immediately become a major part of people’s reopening activities, we are going to run out of blood for patients. Harm may well result for many of the sickest folks in our communities.”

Nationwide shortages have dried up the emergency safety net usually provided by sharing of units between blood centers, making this shortage more dangerous than it has ever been. Blood has no substitute, and patients across the state rely on blood products every day to fight cancer, survive trauma and heal after childbirth.

“If Texans don’t hear the call and regain their pre-pandemic levels of generosity, we’re facing serious damage to the transfusion care that our hospital partners normally provide,” Armitage said. “We keep thinking that COVID-related problems can’t get worse, but we now have the worst stock levels I have seen in my 26 years of blood banking. We need the Texas Standard to gear up into overdrive to carry us out of the sputtering pattern of repeated crises that is starting to emerge post-COVID. We’re pleading with our past, present and future donors to help now.”

Blood donations take about an hour to complete and can save up to three lives. Anyone interested can find locations to donate by clicking here or by calling (877) 340-8777.

Center hours have been extended due to the severity of the situation. Donor centers will be open from June 22 to June 28 at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

While a COVID-19 vaccination is not required of blood donors, those who have been vaccinated can donate immediately, assuming they are feeling well.

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