(WKRG) — The American Red Cross is facing its worst blood shortage in over 10 years. With attendance rates at an all time lowest, life-saving surgeries may not happen.

Just two days after the American Red Cross announced the national shortage, the Carolinas experienced a massive shortage in blood supplies, making it hard for hospitals to treat patients who require blood transfusions. The harsh reality of those seriously injured in an accident, or people waiting to get an organ transplant, can not receive those surgeries if there isn’t enough blood to go around.  

What’s causing the shortage?

Fewer donations due to COVID-19: Blood drives, including the American Red Cross, have seen a drop-off in donations since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Fewer people are making the trek to blood drive stations for fear of catching the virus, lowering the blood supply.  

Staffing shortages: Staffing is especially hard this January as Omicron continues to spread throughout the country. Just last week, four school districts along the Gulf Coast temporarily closed due to staffing shortages from COVID-19. Those in healthcare are being hit the hardest, making it even harder to get blood donations.

Winter: Blood donations are usually low in the winter months, with the American Red Cross experiencing an annual decline in blood donations. Usually, blood drive organizations can weather these seasonal declines, but the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are straining the dwindling blood supply. 

What can you do to help?

There are several local organizations and American Red Cross sites along the gulf coast that are accepting blood donations this month. You can donate your blood at the following locations:

MOBILE COUNTY

The Greene & Phillips Blood Drive will be held Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 51 N Florida St.

The American Red Cross will host two blood drive events. Residents who want to donate should click the link here and type in their zip code to register online.

  • Creek wood Church of Christ on Jan. 19 from 4 p.m. to 8p.m.
  • Volunteers of America on Jan. 31 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

BALDWIN COUNTY

OneBlood will host a blood drive Sunday, Jan. 23 in the Starbucks Parking lot at 6830 US 90 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Daphne. Those who want to donate must schedule an appointment by clicking the link here.

The American Red Cross will host several blood drive events in Baldwin County. Donation sites will be set up in Foley, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Bay Minette. Those who want to donate should click the link here and type in their zip code to register online.

  • Foley Community St. Pauls Lutheran Church from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fortis College from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Foley
  • Orange Beach Community Center from 9 a.m. to noon
  • Gulf Shores Middle School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Gulf Shores Presbyterian Church from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Coastal Alabama Community College from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Bay Minette

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla.

OneBlood will host a blood drive Tuesday, Jan. 18 in the Carrabba’s Italian Grill parking lot from noon to 5 p.m. in Pensacola. Residents who donate will receive a $10 dining certificate to Carrabba’s, a OneBlood Long Sleeve T-Shirt, a $20 eGift Card, and a Wellness Checkup.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

A Community CPRS Day and Blood Drive event will be held Saturday, Feb. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at 4340 Avalon Blvd. in Milton.

GEORGE COUNTY

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive event in Lucedale. The event will be held at Walmart 11228 Old 63 South in Lucedale. Residents who want to donate should click the link here and type in their zip code to register online.