COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–The Red Cross said their blood supply has officially reached its lowest point in years. Now, both the pandemic and recent tornado outbreak have heightened their concerns.

“If you’re able, please consider donating blood,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health.

Both the Red Cross and the Ohio Department of Health are urging the public to donate blood.

The amount of blood units available has been severely reduced due to deadly tornados in Kentucky and Midwest.

“If you donate blood, your blood may go to Columbus, it may go to somebody impacted by the tornadoes, it’s really just the need, the Red Cross looks at ok, where is that need most and that’s where the blood goes first,” said Marita Salkowski who is the regional communications director for the American Red Cross’ Central & Southern Ohio Region.

That is why the Red Cross encourages as many blood donors as possible. Blood components have a short shelf-life and the blood supply needs to be constantly replenished.

“We can’t stockpile blood; you know it’s something that we need to keep rotating and getting on the shelves and then off the shelves. So, the idea is that we need to have blood on the shelves constantly, so we’re able to meet the needs of disasters like something that occurred with our recent tornadoes,” said Salkowski.

According to the Red Cross, the winter and holiday season is when blood donations typically decrease.

“If you’ve already made a blood donation and you’re not yet in your window to make another blood donation, please consider signing up to make a donation at the NBC4 blood given in January, because it is needed at this time,” said Salkowski.

NBC4 has teamed up with the Red Cross to hold an annual blood drive in January.

NBC4 & WNCI Blood Give-in

·         Date: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2021, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

·         Where: Columbus Airport Marriott 1375 N. Cassady Ave. Columbus, OH 43219 (just off I-670)

·         Theme: “Resolve to be a LIFESAVER!”   

  • SCHEDULE your appointment!  Walk-ins are welcome, but those with appointments will be taken first.  To schedule, call 1-800-RED-CROSSgo to the Red Cross Blood donor appor go to RedCrossBlood.org and use the sponsor code “Give In.”

General Blood Donation Facts

CURRENT NEED: Blood collections have been lagging since August, and the Red Cross is entering the holidays with the lowest blood supply in more than a decade.  Hospitals historically use a lot of blood over the holidays, so this blood drive at the beginning of the year will come at a perfect time.  

SPECIAL NEED IN WINTER: Fewer people give blood during the winter months due to the busy holiday season, and also because some are deferred for cold and flu symptoms. 

WHAT’S INVOLVED: The entire blood donation process takes about an hour, and the actual donation only takes about eight to 10 minutes.

WHO CAN DONATE: The basic qualifications to give blood are: You must be at least 17 years of age (or 16 with parental permission), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in generally good health.