The American Red Cross urges people to donate blood

MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Growing concerns with COVID-19 results in blood drives being cancelled nationwide. Now The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage.

Red Cross officials are urging healthy people to donate blood at upcoming blood drives due to a nationwide shortage from COVID-19 concerns.

"Across the nation, 7,000 drives have been cancelled and in West Virginia, 63 drives have been cancelled to date," says Executive Director for the American Red Cross local chapter, Jason Keeling.

Keeling says the state is down 1,800 units of life saving blood. Keeling is now urging healthy people to come out and donate blood. He says the American red cross will take extra measures to ensure donors will be safe.

"We are taking extra precaution at our blood drives to ensure the safety of donors," Keeling says. "We are monitoring the temperatures before they come in, we are providing distancing."

Keeling says right now is an important time to donate to help others who have life-threatening diseases or might need surgery.

"Cancer patients for those who need emergency surgeries, its those populations where it is an essential need," Keeling says.

Keeling says blood drives are an essential activity. The Red Cross is hoping to see more people come out to donate to help people in West Virginia and all over the country.

"The need for blood is not decreasing, the actual supply is so if ever there is a time for to reengage as a blood donor, it would be now," Keeling says.