NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Blood shortages have plagued the U.S. over the past year, from the pandemic, abrupt traumas and even gas shortages. While supply continues to be of concern to regional blood-donation agencies, hospital spokesperson Julian March confirmed to Port City Daily that New Hanover County Regional Medical Center’s supply is in good shape currently.
“Blood inventory levels are stable at this time,” March wrote in an email Friday.
One of the Carolina’s largest blood donation centers, The Blood Connection, reported having to back-order blood products, which has impacted 12 of its hospital partners. It also noted in a release, it didn’t have enough blood to cover hospital needs 48% of the month of May.
“For comparison, in May of 2020 (during the pandemic), TBC collected enough to cover those needs 84% of the days,” the release stated. The organization said it likely will need to ration blood by the end of the Memorial Day weekend.
NHRMC sources blood products from the American Red Cross, according to March. “NHRMC is proactive with blood management practices, including by having protocols to ensure blood products are appropriately used,” he assured.
Though the local blood inventory at the seven-county-serving hospital is substantial, March encourages people to donate, especially since NHRMC sources blood products to the area’s other regional hospitals that need it.
The American Red Cross reported around “36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.” Its website currently promotes a “critical need” for donors from May 28 through June 13. The organization has reported it sees a decline in donations during summer months and holidays, as people tend to be busier.
The Red Cross especially has experienced shortages since the pandemic began last March, noting 80% of its blood products were dependent upon drives hosted at schools, college campuses and universities. When classes went virtual because of Covid, those sites no longer were available.
Pop-up donation drives have made up for those losses. The American Red Cross’ local donation center on South 16th Street is showing appointment availability in the coming week, with nine open slots on Memorial Day and two the following Tuesday; the rest of the week has availability too.
Folks who have received a Covid vaccine can still donate blood. The Red Cross asks donors to know the manufacturer (e.g. Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson) of their vaccine and relay that information to personnel at the donation site.
Readers can find out more information about donating blood here.
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