Blood donation organization Vitalant said the number of people donating blood has dropped by 20 percent in the three years while the need remains stronger than ever.
“There's a blood emergency, which means we need everyone who can give blood to step up and give blood to help a patient in need,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president of Vitalant.
He says the shift to remote work has largely contributed to the shortage.
Many companies stopped hosting blood drives during the pandemic, which led to a 50 percent decline in donations at business blood drives. That's a loss of roughly 90,000 units of blood.
"It is a very critical situation; it is literally every single day trying to do the best we can to meet hospital needs so we don't postpone surgeries and cause damage to patient care,” Numark said.
They are trying to reach donors in other ways by hosting mobile blood drives at places like schools, universities and churches.
But to continue outreach, they need volunteers.
"We need even more organizations to step up to organize blood drives, more than they have in the past,” said Numark. “And we're reaching out to people digitally, on social media, so all those things are ways we're trying to overcome this, but frankly, it takes time."
All types of blood are needed, especially types O negative and O positive.