Blood transfusions are often needed during surgeries. As elective surgeries have started up again throughout the country, a new crisis is unfolding within healthcare systems, especially across New York State and our local Rochester hospitals. According to The American Red Cross, people who would normally donate blood have stayed away from blood donation centers because of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Over the last several weeks, The Red Cross was able to stabilize demand in some regions, but the return of elective surgeries is about to upset that balance.
As Jay Bonafede, the Chief Communications Officer for The Red Cross in New York’s Western and Central regions, explained: “Blood has a shelf life. So, some of those donations have either been used or need to be used quickly. So, we need to start to replenish that. Also, as we begin to reopen [and] things begin to start, we’re going to see and have started to see a little bit of an increased demand as elective surgeries restart.”
As the virus continues to hit minority communities hard, African-American donors are also urgently needed to help rebuild the surplus of blood to treat Sickle Cell Disease. The Red Cross has posted a “critical need” red alert banner on its sickle cell disease web page.
People interested in donating blood can do so by scheduling an appointment on the Give Blood page for the Red Cross here. Patients who have survived a SARS-CoV-2 infection are also urged to donate blood to help other patients and researchers.