CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A number of American Red Cross chapters including North Carolina and South Carolina is issuing a plea for donations, citing a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the typical post-holiday decline in the winter.
At times, the Greater Carolinas Region has had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types, communications director Maya Franklin told The Charlotte Observer. The Greater Carolinas Region consists of five chapters serving 47 counties in North Carolina and four counties in South Carolina.
Through the end of January, about 75% of donation appointments remain unfilled, compared to 56% during this time last year, Franklin said.
Franklin said donations are typically low during the winter holidays, but as COVID-19 cases rose in August and through the fall, donor turnout decreased. She said the region anticipates the current surge will hurt donor turnout again.
A news release from the American Red Cross national headquarters said the current blood shortage is the worst in more than a decade. The Red Cross has experienced a 10% decline in the number of blood donors since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and continues to encounter blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations, the release said.