The American Red Cross has issued an emergency appeal after Winter Storm Jonas sparked a cutback in blood donations along the East Coast.
According to David Hull from the Donor Recruitment Department of the Red Cross, 300 blood drives were canceled throughout the East Coast because of the storm, which resulted in about 9,500 fewer donated pints.
“We really had to wait until everything got plowed. A lot of the drives were canceled on Friday because of the pending storm. Saturday everything was canceled, Monday everything was cancelled. Maybe only half of them ran on Tuesday. Probably the same thing on Wednesday,” Hull said.
Operation Service Manager Louis Eguzo said Red Cross has a very low supply of blood on its shelves.
“Maryland is out of blood. All parts of the country, I think it’s about nine states, that have had snow problems (from the storm) are basically out of blood,” Eguzo said.
Eguzo also said that because blood supplies need to be replenished on a daily basis, a few days without a blood drive causes a severe drop. “As long as people go to the hospitals, we’re going to be needing blood,” Eguzo said.
Steve Mavica, a spokesperson for the Red Cross in the Greater Chesapeake & Potomac Region, said the recent donations are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as possible.
“That’s the whole purpose of this emergency appeal, so that we don’t get to a point where we are having a detrimental effect on local area hospitals,” Mavica said.
Mavica also said that although there has been an increase in volunteers calling to donate, which has helped significantly, there is still a huge need for more volunteers.
According to Hull, the hospitals that are served by the Red Cross in Montgomery County include the Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center, Holy Cross Hospital and Suburban Hospital.
“We are trying to get as many people as possible,” said Eguzo. “Because of the snow, the Red Cross is basically out of blood right now. So we are trying to get as much as we can get right now.”