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Blood Center supply is low as COVID causes reduction in donations

Whether people are staying at home because of COVID or because of fewer blood drives, the Blood Center is low on blood.

NEW ORLEANS — Inside of the Blood Center on Canal Street, the blood supply is low.

Doctor Tim Peterson, the Medical Director of the Blood Center says that since Louisiana moved to Phase 3 of the coronavirus recovery, more elective surgeries are being done and because of that the need for blood has increased.

“Right now the blood supply is at a very critical level,” he said as shelves with little to no blood on them were seen in the center.

While the need for blood is great, there are COVID-19 restrictions on mobile blood drives, which means the bloodmobiles in the center’s lot are stalled until further notice.

“Taking out our buses for collections currently isn’t really allowed,” said Peterson. “So, with the limited amount of spots we have in our blood centers for appointments, it’s getting very difficult to maintain an adequate and safe blood supply.”

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The number of donations have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 and stay at home orders and recent hurricanes have also made it difficult for people to get out and donate. Peterson says he hopes Louisiana is listening to the call to give, because it’s estimated that about 75 percent of people will need a blood donation at some point in their life.

"You've all known someone who has needed it as treatments have gotten better especially in chemotherapy and transplantation blood product usage has really gone up,” he said.

The Blood Center is asking for your blood donations, but they are also asking for a donation of some of your time.

"But the letter bit of time they donate now can provide a lifetime to a patient," he said.

The Blood Center said that before the pandemic it received an average of 350 donations a week. That number is now down to about 100 donations per week.