File photo

File photo

Anticipating shortage, blood center desperate for donations

Bloodworks Northwest is bracing for a severe summer blood shortage that could limit the access of local trauma centers to blood.

And so it’s ramping up its appeal for blood donations of all blood types.

“Summer is always a challenging time for blood collection, and now, with the pandemic reducing donations, the supply is already at the point where inventories of the most-needed blood types are fast approaching critical and emergency levels – meaning a severe blood shortage is ahead of us without community action,” said Curt Bailey, Bloodworks Northwest President and CEO.

“The availability of an adequate blood supply is crucial for the care and safety of patients at our hospitals and trauma centers and must be replenished. The community must not wait to make appointments to donate in the days and weeks ahead,” Bailey said.

Blood centers throughout the country report inventories falling to their lowest levels since the early stages of the pandemic as the nation’s hospitals resume elective surgeries.

Locally, Bloodworks is anticipating a shortfall of 6,000 donations through the July Fourth holiday because of low donor turnout.

A shortage that large could impact the availability of blood to the hospitals and trauma centers.

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many surgeries were cancelled or postponed, and the healthcare system is now working hard to catch up,” said Dr. Eileen Bulger, Harborview Trauma Surgeon. “In addition, emergency surgery for serious injuries can’t be postponed, and the summer season is the busiest time for our Level 1 Trauma center at Harborview Medical Center. We rely on blood donors and Bloodworks Northwest to ensure that we have the life-saving blood products needed at this critical time.”

Bloodworks has perks for people who donate a pint in July at any Bloodworks Donor Center or Pop-Up location to help end the shortage. Donors who give between June 29 – July 11 will receive a $20 grocery gift card. All donors in July will be automatically entered into the Pump It Up Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Peloton Bike.

So far, response has been encouraging, but Bloodworks is concerned that the upcoming July Fourth Weekend will impact its ability to provide urgently-needed blood for emergencies at a time when the trauma units around the Puget Sound region typically experience high-patient usage.

First-time and repeat donors are urged to make their one-hour donation appointment today as a safe and essential action to support local patients. There is no inherent risk of getting coronavirus from the donation procedure itself, but Bloodworks follows all CDC and local health guidelines and is taking extra precautions to protect staff and donors, including requiring donation appointments, continuous sanitation, prohibiting guests, and asking donors to bring a mask/face covering to their donation.

Anyone who donates between June 29 – July 11 gets a $20 grocery gift card for stocking the shelves for local patients.

Bloodworks has posted information addressing questions and concerns for blood donors at bloodworksnw.org/coronavirus. Blood donation takes about an hour from registration to post-donation refreshment. Information about who can donate and where, is available at www.bloodworksnw.org.

For the latest information on COVID-19. please visit the CDC website, the Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 main page and Oregon Health Authority.

Appointments and information can be found at BloodworksNW.org or 800-398-7888, or at unique venues like CenturyLink Field, Paramount Theater, Bellevue Arts Museum, and more.


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