Blood donations critical as shortage continues

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The American Red Cross is facing its worst blood shortage in over a decade, and blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent delays in vital medical treatments. 

According to the organization, the blood shortage crisis has been caused by a series of factors: 

• 10% overall blood donation decline since March 2020.

• 62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors accounted for about 25% of donors in 2019 and accounted for just about 10% during the pandemic.

• Ongoing blood drive cancellations due to illness, weather-related closures and staffing limitations.

Additional factors like a surge of COVID-19 cases and an active flu season may compound the already bad situation.

The organization states less than a one-day supply of critical blood types has been available in recent weeks. 

While all blood types are urgently needed, the following are the most needed blood types right now:

• Type O Positive

• Type O Negative

• Platelets

The following are upcoming blood drives in Albert Lea and the surrounding area:

• Jan. 19: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Albert Lea Senior Center, 1719 W. Main St.

• Jan. 21: noon to 6 p.m., United Methodist Church, 702 U.S. Highway 69 S.

• Jan. 27: noon to 6 p.m., Northbridge Mall, 2510 Bridge Ave. 

• Jan. 28: noon to 6 p.m., Albert Lea Fire Department, 417 S. Newton Ave. 

• Feb. 3: noon to 6 p.m., Bridge Community Church, 2016 Bridge Ave. 

• Feb 4: noon to 6 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 301 W. Clark St.

• Feb. 9: noon to 6 p.m., Hollandale Christian Reform Church, 102 E. Amsterdam Ave.

• Feb. 11: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mayo Clinic Health System, 404 Fountain St.

• Feb. 15: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Riverland Community College, 2200 Riverland Drive

Requirements to donate

The following are some of the requirements donors must meet to be eligible to donate blood: 

Whole blood donation

• Can donate every 56 days, up to six times a year

• Must be in good health and feeling well

• Must be at least 16 years old in most states

• Must weigh at least 110 pounds

Platelet donation

• Can donate every seven days, up to 24 times a year

• Must be in good health and feeling well

• Must be at least 17 years old in most states

• Must weigh at least 110 pounds

AB elite plasma donation

• Can donate every 28 days, up to 13 times a year

• Must have type AB blood

• Must be in good health and feeling well

• Must be at least 17

• Must weigh at least 110 pounds