Bloodworks Northwest (formerly Puget Sound Blood Center) is asking people to schedule a blood donation during the next week as chilly weather and flu-and-cold season dramatically reduce the blood supply in the region.
“A normal dip in donations during the holidays is expected, but in the first 10 days of January we’re already down 800 units below what is needed,” said James P. AuBuchon, M.D., president and CEO. “Regular donors are delaying coming in because of illness, while extreme winter weather and treacherous road conditions in southwest Washington and Oregon have hampered donors in those communities.”
Nationwide, severe winter weather and seasonal viruses are causing acute shortages at many blood centers. Today about 20 percent of U.S. blood centers (one in five) are reporting emergency blood inventories: a one day or less supply of common blood types. On average, only one center in 20 is experiencing supply challenges at this level. Normal inventory is a four-day supply.
“Sometimes when local supplies dip, we can reach out to other regions for short term help. But there is no extra supply out there right now,” AuBuchon said.
Type-O donors (positive and negative) are especially needed, but all types are welcome. Donors are urged to schedule an appointment this week at any one of Bloodworks’ 12 donor centers by going online at schedule.bloodworksnw.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888. People can also can check online for dates and times of community blood drives close to where they live or work — by going to bloodworksnw.org.
Patient need for blood is continuous, driven by surgeries, organ transplants and cancer treatment. Bloodworks supports more than 90 hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
The closest donor centers are:
2703 Oakes Avenue
19723 Highway 99, Suite F
Lynnwood, WA 98036
North Seattle Center
10357 Stone Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98133