Blood donors needed as northwest faces shortages

It’s not unusual for blood to be in short supply in the summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, and the health care system is likely to be stretched thin as the warm-weather months arrive.

Bloodworks Northwest is anticipating a shortfall of 6,000 donations through the Fourth of July weekend due to low donor turnout, which could impact the availability of blood for hospitals and trauma centers throughout the northwest. The summer is generally the busiest time for trauma centers and hospitals are also resuming elective surgeries.

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many surgeries were canceled or postponed and the health care system is now working hard to catch up,” said Dr. Eileen Bulger, Harborview trauma surgeon. “In addition, emergency surgery for serious injuries can’t be postponed and the summer season is the busiest time for our Level 1 trauma center at Harborview Medical Center. We rely on blood donors and Bloodworks Northwest to ensure that we have the life-saving blood products needed at this critical time.”

To encourage donors, anyone who donates blood between June 29 and July 11 will receive a $20 grocery gift card; and all donors in July will automatically be entered to win a Peloton bike.

Kitsap’s Bloodworks Northwest Donor Center is located in Silverdale at 3230 NW Randall Way.

Both first-time and repeat donors are asked to make their donation appointment as soon as possible. Donations take approximately one hour, and although there is no inherent risk of exposure to coronavirus, Bloodworks will follow all CDC and local health guidelines. Donors are asked to bring a mask or face covering to their appointments.

“Summer is always a challenging time for blood collection and now with the pandemic reducing donations, the supply is already at the point where inventories of the most-needed blood types are fast approaching critical and emergency levels – meaning a severe blood shortage is ahead of us without community action,” said Curt Bailey, Bloodworks Northwest president and CEO. “The availability of an adequate blood supply is crucial for the care and safety of patients at our hospitals and trauma centers and must be replenished. The community must not wait to make appointments to donate in the days and weeks ahead.”

For more information, visit BloodworksNW.org or call 800-398-7888. The local Silverdale center can be reached at 360-308-7340.

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