ATLANTA - The Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If something doesn't change soon, the Red Cross says life-saving blood may not be available to those who need it.
Medical Director of the American Red Cross of Georgia, Dr. Baia Lasky, says the Red Cross has the lowest supply of blood in more than a decade. She says there's less than a half-day of supply for most blood types.
"It is leaving our shelves as fast as we can collect it," said Dr. Lasky.
The problems have been compounding since the start of the pandemic, and lately, things haven't gotten any better.
"We are in the middle of the biggest surge we've seen and that's affecting the ability of donors and our staff and the ability to collect. Many blood drives have been canceled," said Dr. Lasky.
(American Red Cross)
Dr. Lasky says the shortage is impacting patient care and forcing doctors to make tough calls.
"The level of inventory is forcing physicians and hospitals to make decisions as to who will receive the blood," said Dr. Lasky.
At a blood drive in the Legacy Park neighborhood in Kennesaw, many rolled up their sleeves because they heard about the shortage.
"It's vital, vital. Especially now with the virus, if you're healthy and strong, give blood," said Ileana Livingston.
Even those who don't normally give blood stepped up.
"Even though I am hesitant about giving blood because I'm a wimp about it, I'm happy to donate because there's a shortage," said Terry Brooks.
Blood donor bags (American Red Cross)
At this point, Dr. Lasky says all blood types are welcome and needed.
"We need blood from everybody across the board, definitely type O, but we're not turning everyone away, we definitely need everything," said Dr. Lasky.