Bloodworks Declares 'Code Red' As Puget Sound Blood Supply Wanes

·2 min read

WASHINGTON — Washington is contending with a severe shortage of blood donations, and one local blood bank warns that dwindling supply is already impacting how many orders it can fulfill for hospitals around the region.

Bloodworks Northwest said it declared another "code red" this month, with just a half-day of supply of Type O and Type A on any given day.

"This is the most prolonged, most severe blood shortage in recent years, with little indication of significant improvement," said Vicki Finson, an executive vice president at Bloodworks Northwest. "Therefore, we could be hanging on by a thread for months to come if our community doesn't take action."

Finson said Bloodworks was shipping out blood to health care facilities as fast as possible while advising hospitals across the Pacific Northwest to conserve supplies. On top of the recent severe winter weather, Bloodworks said the record surge in COVID-19 cases also decreased the number of donors able to help. As a result, the organization is urging anyone who is healthy to consider scheduling an appointment regardless of their blood type — and especially if they are Type O.

"Right now, universal Type O blood is extremely important, especially for trauma and emergency situations when the patient's blood type is unknown," Bloodworks officials said in a news release. "January is National Blood Donor Month, and with this blood shortage that is nothing short of a national public health emergency."

Bloodworks said hundreds of appointments were available over the coming days and the next three weeks could prove vital in recovering much-needed supplies. Donors can give blood on the same day they receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot, and officials said same-day appointments are available at most donation centers and pop-up clinics.

This week the American Red Cross declared a national blood crisis, flagging a 34 percent decline in new donors over 2021 and less than a one-day supply for critical blood types across the United States.

In a news release Tuesday, Red Cross Northwest urged eligible donors to consider scheduling an appointment as soon as possible, by visiting its website, using the app, or calling 1-800-733-2767.

Donors can book appointments through Bloodworks Northwest on its website or by calling 1-800-398-7888. Pop-up blood drives are scheduled across Western Washington, and appointments may also be booked at one of several donation centers, including in Bellevue.

More information on eligibility requirements for blood donations is available on the Bloodworks Northwest website.

This article originally appeared on the Bellevue Patch

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