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Versiti reports lowest blood reserves in a decade

ALPENA, Mich. — It’s been about 2 years since the coronavirus reached America, but new challenges emerge every day.

Dawn Kaiser, Area Vice President for Versiti Blood Center, said they’ve seen a downward trend in donations since March 2020.

“Lots of blood drives were cancelled. That blood is depended on. When we schedule blood drives, we’re planning on having blood in inventory.”

With Omicron driving further cancellations, Versiti and other groups are in a tight squeeze.

“We only have about a day’s supply in inventory, and we like to have a five–or–six–day supply.”

Kaiser said the current supply is the lowest she’s seen in at least a decade. And if it continues like this, she said people could face serious danger.

“If a patient needs 50 units of blood, we might only be able to give them 25. And then there’ll have to be alternative care. Unfortunately, it is life or death for some people.”

And the shortage hits more than the emergency room. Even routine care could be jeopardized.

“Cancer patients need blood and blood products daily. Transplants. Surgeries. We need blood readily available.”

Kaiser said there’s no telling how long this blood drought will last, but you can shorten it by donating some of your own.

Organizations like Versiti and the Red Cross have pages where you can track down upcoming drives.