Red Cross in critical need of blood donors as 13,000 drives have canceled across the U.S.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The American Red Cross is urging healthy people to make an appointment and donate blood, as thousands of drives have closed across the country, and right here in Pennsylvania over the past month.

As the Red Cross looks for new locations for blood drives, it’s reminding businesses that are deemed non-essential under the Governor’s order, that the building can be used as a site to host a blood drive.

“These are unprecedented times. Never before have we seen 13,000 drives cancelled,” said Lisa Landis, with the American Red Cross, Greater Pennsylvania.

That’s resulted in 400,000 less donations across the country over the past month. And in Pennsylvania, the Red Cross says, 822 drives have been cancelled in that same time, resulting in almost 24,000 less units of blood. Each donation can save up to three lives.

“Every two seconds in the United States, someone’s in need of life-saving blood, and blood can’t be manufactured. It can only come from healthy donors,” said Landis.

And to make matters worse, this is already typically a slow time of year for blood donations. The Red Cross supplies 40 percent of the nation’s supply.

“Blood and plasma are perishable items. They don’t have a terribly long shelf life. So we need to ensure that when it’s needed by trauma victims, cancer patients, whomever may be in need that that supply is on the shelves,” said Landis.

And for those worried about their own safety.

“Our staff are now wearing masks. You’ll see additional hand sanitizer stations. There’s temperature takes at all entry points,” said Landis.

In addition, the Red Cross is looking for people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma. Right now, it’s being evaluated as a treatment for seriously ill coronavirus patients. If that’s you, after you fill out your information online, the Red Cross will reach out to you with further information.

For donation locations near you, go to and enter your zip code.

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