Red Cross facing severe shortage due to new coronavirus

Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 07:53:54-04

(WXYZ) — About 80% of the Red Cross’s blood supply comes from blood drives. With those being canceled due to concerns about the new coronoavirus, the Red Cross is working to get out the word, it needs you to donate at one of its centers.

When you walk into the door of the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Bloomfield Hills, you might notice changes. Immediately you are asked to sanitize your hands and have your temperature taken. A sign says if you are sick, do not come in. They are taking extra precautions to keep people healthy.

Bloomfield Hills Team Supervisor Rose Kramer says she tries not to think about whether the Red Cross could run out of blood as people stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. She got into this work because she knows first hand how important it is that there is blood available.

“When my brother Cameron was born he was only 2 pounds. He needed a couple blood transfusions. And now he is about to graduate this year. Don’t make me cry. But I thank the Red Cross everyday,” she said.

If you look at how busy the Bloomfield Hills location is, you might assume there is no shortage, but the fact is the Red Cross relies heavily on off location blood drives. Because of concerns about the new coronavirus here in Michigan 160 blood drives are canceled - resulting in 5,100 fewer donations. The Red Cross tries to maintain a 5-day supply and does not have enough blood right now for the next five days.

Kramer says she hopes that people who hear this respond, so people get the care they need.

“I don’t like to think negative because it is consuming. And the what-ifs are very hard to get past, especially when you feel a little powerless. This is something we can do to seize power, is keep that supply up,” said Kramer.

The number to cal if you want to set up an appointment to donate is 1-800-Give-Life. While walk-ins are accepted if possible, appointment allow them to minimize waiting and allow social distancing.

To make sure they get as many donations as possible and to continue practicing social distancing and not find yourself waiting around with others - it is best to make an appointment.