The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis, the worst blood shortage in over a decade, the organization said in a statement on Thursday.

The shortage is posing a risk to patient care. Many doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available, the Red Cross said in a press release.

Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments, the Red Cross said.

“While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross. “Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live, even as omicron cases surge across the country, Young said.

“We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors,” Young said.

The Red Cross experienced a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to confront relentless issues due to the pandemic, including ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations, they said.

The Red Cross experienced low donor turnout ever since the delta variant began spreading in August, and that trend continues since the omicron variant began.

All types of blood are needed, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations.

A blood drive was held Thursday at the Hudson Elks Lodge on Harry Howard Avenue.

Upcoming blood drives in Columbia County will occur on Saturday at the Palatine Park youth and activity building in Germantown from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., and Jan. 26 at the Columbia Memorial Health administrative building on Prospect Avenue in Hudson from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Although no blood drives are scheduled in Greene County before March, those wishing to make a short drive to Saugerties will be able to donate blood Jan. 28 at Trinity Episcopal Church from noon until 6 p.m.

To find out locations for future Red Cross blood drives, or to make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-red-cross.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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