Eligible donors urged to give blood as national blood shortage continues

The Washington State Department of Health, in partnership with the Washington State Blood Coalition, is encouraging eligible donors to give blood this summer.

In addition to celebrating World Blood Donor Day on June 14, blood centers in Washington state are preparing for the summer months ahead—which is a critical time for blood donations.

“Blood donations usually start to drop around this time of year due to summer schedule and vacations,” said Curt Bailey, president and chief executive officer, Bloodworks Northwest. “But we need everyone’s help to keep our blood supply stable for those who need it.”

The call for donations this summer is especially urgent due to an ongoing nationwide blood shortage. Earlier this year the American Red Cross announced a blood crisis, citing its worst blood shortage in over a decade. Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah have urged people in Washington to donate blood if able to do so.

“Donating blood is a safe activity that can save lives,” said Andrew Rose, COVID-19 Incident Commander, Washington State Department of Health, whose team in the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response meets regularly with local blood centers to monitor safety and supply. All types of blood are needed for cancer treatment, trauma cases, and many other situations. A donation appointment usually takes less than an hour and includes a donor screening process to evaluate each person’s temperature, current health and travel history. Actual donation time is about 10 minutes.

“Our primary focus is to ensure a safe and reliable blood supply in our community,” says Angel Montes, Regional Donor Services Executive, American Red Cross, explaining the blood center coalition’s call to action. Christine Swinehart, Executive Director, Cascade Regional Blood Services, added, “We know that people care and will step up when they learn how important the need is. We’re here to make the process as easy as possible.”

More information about donating blood, including how to schedule an appointment and updates related to COVID-19, is available from local blood centers:

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