Worst Blood Shortage ‘In Years' Hits Chicago Region

One blood bank is seeking 700 donors a day for a week in order to maintain supply.

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The worst blood shortage in more than five years has hit the Chicago area.

Blood donation centers like Versiti Blood Center of Illinois say less than a day’s supply of donated blood is available on any given day.

Dr. Kevin Ha, an associate medical director at Versiti, said the centers need 700 donors a day this week in order to maintain adequate blood supply going forward.

"Group O positive and group O negative is what we’re seeing a shortfall in," said Dr. Ha.

Dr. Ha said COVID-19 has caused the perfect storm for this severe shortage. Many donors are working from home, which limits where mobile blood drives can be held.

"We’ve seen a lot of workplaces or schools closed off. Places where we’ve normally gone to get blood from these donors," said Dr. Ha. "Some of these places are still doing remote work or not there."

Joy Squier, a communications officer with American Red Cross, said the upcoming holiday season will compound the problem. Winter holidays are normally slow for blood donations as people travel and go on vacation.

"We’re not at the stage where procedures are being canceled, but that is what is potentially in jeopardy," said Squier. "We need about 10,000 additional units each week for the next four weeks."

To find a blood drive with the American Red Cross, click here.

To find a donation center with Versiti, click here.

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