Bloodworks Northwest said donor fatigue and the most sustained no-show rate since the coronavirus pandemic began led to a severe blood shortage with less than a 24-hour supply in the blood bank’s inventory.
In a statement Friday, the local nonprofit declared it a “Code Red” emergency shortage that’s been affecting hospitals and trauma centers across the Pacific Northwest over the past three weeks.
Bloodworks said donor fatigue from warm weather and a feeling that the pandemic may almost be over has led to a significant drop in the number of people making and keeping their appointments. Donations are short about 700 units a week compared to the need.
Bloodworks officials said the problem is nationwide.
“Blood is being shipped to hospitals faster than it’s being collected,” said Executive Vice President Vicki Finson. “We’re actively communicating with hospitals to conserve blood and appealing to donors to book appointments so that doctors don’t need to make difficult decisions like canceling surgeries or postponing treatments based on the blood supply. And because donation is by appointment only, if you cannot make your appointment, it’s critical to cancel so others can fill in for you.”
Types O and A are in critically short supply, the statement said.
“Maintaining a safe and reliable blood supply is critical to public health and the ability of trauma centers to respond to emergencies,” said Bloodworks Northwest President and CEO Curt Bailey. “The community must immediately prioritize donating blood for the health of local patients, including individuals with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.“
There is no waiting period necessary before giving blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Washington and Oregon residents can book appointments at bloodworksnw.org.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.