COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The American Red Cross is sounding the alarm about low blood and platelet supplies, issuing an urgent request for donations calling the current need an “emergency.”

The agency is asking donors of all blood types, especially type O, to give now and in the upcoming weeks to replenish dwindling life-saving reserves.

Donors can make an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 blood donations have lagged, creating a desperate situation with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types recently. Even more troubling, the agency noted, “The supply of types O positive and O negative blood, the most needed blood types by hospitals, dropped to less than a half-day supply at times over the last month − well below the ideal five-day supply.”

“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “While it’s clear the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on our minds, the Red Cross asks the public to remember donating blood and platelets is essential to the many patients that rely on lifesaving transfusions every day.”

Donors can also receive several thank-yours for rolling up their sleeves in October, including an email link for a free Zaxby’s® Signature Sandwich reward or a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.