RI Blood Center puts call out to donors as supply drops to ‘critical levels’

Health

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — For the third time this year, the Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) announced a “blood emergency” on Monday, saying its current supply is down to a one- to two-day inventory.

While that’s well below the ideal standard of a seven-day supply, the RIBC is concerned it will only get worse with holiday travel, winter weather, and the ongoing pandemic causing fewer donations.

That’s why the RIBC and health care officials are calling on Rhode Islanders to step up and donate.

Phyllis Dennery, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician-in-Chief and Medical Director of Hasbro Children’s Hospital, said blood is essential to providing “the most advanced pediatric medical care to our young patients.”

“Hasbro has the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Rhode Island and is staffed around the clock,” Dennery said. “If we all do our part by donating blood, we will make a real difference to ensure that we are ready for any emergency.”

Beau Tompkins, the RIBC’s executive director, said blood centers nationwide have yet to recover from shortages caused by the pandemic, and the emergence of the omicron variant is leading to further uncertainty.

“In a normal year, winter is a difficult time to maintain the blood supply,” Tompkins said. “Normally, October and November are a time where we build our inventory in anticipation of these challenges, but this year is especially dire without a solid inventory pre-holiday and the news of a new variant.”

The RIBC issued a reminder that donating blood only takes an hour, and they are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Those looking to make a donation can schedule an appointment on the RIBC’s website.

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