“Our hospitals are running critically low”: National blood shortage hits Southern West Virginia

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – “We are in a crunch. We are in a shortage.”

There’s a great need for you to roll up your sleeve. The Red Cross dealing with a severe blood shortage and healthcare professionals are asking for blood from all types of donors.

“Many of the things that we do in healthcare require a blood transfusion,” said Plateau Medical Center Dr. Paul Conley.

Conley says that the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed greatly to the shortage. Stay at home orders and social distancing discouraged donors from attending banks and drives to give in person.

“Where normally we have blood drives and people would come in and donate blood,” Conley said. “With this pandemic, people have been staying at home.”

The shortage is present here in Southern West Virginia. Conley remembers when 1-2 weeks worth of blood were stocked in blood banks. Now, that supply is sometimes only stocked for 1-2 days.

“Our hospitals are running critically low,” Conley said. “I think it’s just so important that people understand this.”

Conley tells WOAY that the state’s vaccination numbers have made it safe to once again donate blood in person. More than 1,000 blood donations are needed each day to meet the current demand in hospitals and prevent further delays in patient care.

“People that haven’t been donating blood due to COVID-19 should feel safe that they can go back and donate blood again,” Conley said.

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