BERLIN — The Blood Bank of Delmarva this week announced a critical shortage with just a three-day overall supply and just over a one-day supply of type O blood.
The Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) is reaching out to citizens all across the peninsula to step and donate in order to restore the much-needed supply. The BBD cited numerous reasons for the critical shortage, many related to COVID. The long-term impact of the pandemic has resulted in a year of virtually no new donors.
There were 235 fewer blood drives and roughly 5,000 Delmarva residents who were regular donors before the pandemic have not yet returned. Complicating the situation, recently there has been a surge in blood usage as hospitals perform more surgeries and patients seek medical care that was postponed during the pandemic. The increased need and the lag in donations has created a chronic gap in blood donations that has reached a critical stage.
“As the region opens up, hospitalizations are going up and far outpacing the number of donations we are receiving,” said BBD Senior Executive Director Patty Killeen. “Through our new media campaign, we must raise awareness and encourage lapsed donors who have not donated since before COVID-19 to return, and to attract the next generation of blood donors to help us build a healthy blood supply.”
Through humor and compelling narrative, the campaign is being launched to show a new generation of potential donors not only how important it is to regularly donate blood, but also how easy it can be. With the campaign, the BBD is hoping a bit of humor will help tackle preconceived notions around donating blood and send the message that donating is easy. For example, one of the campaign’s messages includes “things that hurt more than giving blood.”
The BBD points out donating blood only takes about an hour, but that one hour could save three lives. The BBD is taking extra precautions to prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID even with vaccinations increasing and the pandemic seemingly waning.
The BBD provides safe blood and blood products to all 19 hospitals on Delmarva. It relies on 80,000 volunteer blood donors each year to ensure the needs are met on the peninsula.
The BBD operates four donor centers around the peninsula and in a normal year, hosts 600 blood drives, although that number was greatly reduced during the pandemic. Donors can schedule an appointment by calling 1-888-8BLOOD8, or visiting www.delmarvablood.org.