MARSHALL – The American Red Cross urges Minnesotans to donate blood this summer to help alleviate a blood shortage.
A variety of factors, including an increased need for blood in hospitals across the country, have added to the shortage, Red Cross spokespersons said this week.
“With the additional demand, we are in a desperate situation”, said Sue Thesenga, regional communications manager for the Minnesota Red Cross and the Dakota region.
There will be upcoming blood donation opportunities in Lyon and Pipestone counties next week, as well as other communities in the region in the coming weeks.
“Usually during the summer months, we already see a drop in blood donations”, because people travel more and are busy with other activities, Thesenga said.
However, as hospitals resume offering elective surgeries and other procedures that were on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said there was a greater need for blood than usual. The Red Cross said it has distributed around 75,000 more blood products than planned over the past three months to help meet these needs.
Hospitals are also recording a higher number of trauma and emergency room visits, as well as organ transplants. The Red Cross said demand for trauma centers has increased 10% this year compared to 2019.
Thesenga said it’s also important to remember that blood is perishable and that a constant supply is needed to meet medical needs.
“When seconds count in emergency trauma situations, it’s the blood already on the shelves that can make the difference in life-saving care” said Phil Hansen, regional director of the Minnesota Red Cross and the Dakota region. “As many people begin to enjoy traveling and spending time with loved ones again this summer, patients are counting on the generosity of donors to ensure they have access to the treatment they need. Please consider donating blood as a summer activity that can help save lives. “
The Red Cross said it is looking for donors of all blood groups, especially type O and platelet donors. In most cases, people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate blood, but knowing the manufacturer of the vaccine they received will be important in determining eligibility for donation.
Blood drives are scheduled for next week in Marshall, Cottonwood, Minneota and Ruthton. However, Thesenga said the best way to stay up to date on local blood drives is to go to www.redcrossblood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or download the donation app. Red Cross blood on your phone.
Upcoming blood drive
• June 21: Marshall-Lyon County Library from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• June 22: Cottonwood Community Building from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• June 23: Minneota American Legion from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• June 24: Ruthton Community Center from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.