Blood donations needed as winter months, COVID-19 pandemic can lead to shortage

The recent cold weather across the country has tightened lead to an increased need for blood donations.

Video Transcript

- There are food and gasoline shortages, causing long lines and lots of frustrations. And many residents are now getting an unwanted surprise, skyrocketing utility bills because of a massive increase in demand.

DEANDRE UPSHAW: Last thing that I'm thinking about, while I'm trying to get gas and groceries, is a $7,000 bill from my utility company.

- Can you imagine, Texas State regulators have temporarily banned power companies from disconnecting customers for unpaid bills?

- And last week's snow, ice, and deep freeze across the country is impacting blood donations. Many Red Cross drives had to be canceled. Joe Squier-- uh, Joy Squier, from the Red Cross, is with us live. Joy it's good to see you. How are you doing?

JOY SQUIER: It's nice to be here.

- So run us through last week because it wasn't just the weather here that caused problems for the Red Cross.

JOY SQUIER: No, there were cancellations of blood donations across 30 states, due to the record breaking cold and winter weather, the snow in places we usually don't get snow. So we had more than 21,000 blood donations canceled and, so we need people to come out and donate to help us make up those donations. Because the need for blood is constant.

- What kind of problem-- when you have that many blood drives cancelled, what kind of problem does that create for you?

JOY SQUIER: Well everyday the Red Cross must collect 40% of the nation's blood supply, for about 2,500 hospital partners. So we need to have people come out, who are feeling good and healthy, because we need to meet the demand. You never know when you might need blood, whether you're going to be in an accident, or someone suffering from leukemia or lymphoma who may need blood, conditions like sickle cell. The need for blood continues amid inclement weather like we experienced last week, so we are calling for people to come out and donate.

- Are people still showing up to give during this pandemic or are they hesitant?

JOY SQUIER: People are still showing up to give. We have-- safety is the utmost priority for the Red Cross and so we put a number of measures in place including taking temperatures, masks, social distancing and, so we're encouraging people to come out. And people still are coming, although we had a number of cancellations in the Chicago area last week, due to our excessive snow. So now that we're getting a reprieve we hope that people will go online to, or download our blood donor app and donate, and come out to donate. There are a number of appointments open, I know, this week and next week. So we're encouraging the ABC7 viewer.

- There you go, so go on out and donate if you can. Joy Squire, from the American Red Cross. It's good to have you. Thank you so much Joy, appreciate it.

JOY SQUIER: Thank you.