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Pandemic is causing a shortage of blood donations

The pandemic has resulted in a critical shortage of blood across the country.

The head of the Red Cross in the Cascades region, Dale Kunce, said they’re struggling with several issues. First, patients who postponed surgeries because of COVID-19 are now returning for treatment. Second, people alter their summer routines because of things like vacations, so they miss donation appointments. And third, as the delta variant surges, people are concerned about donating.

“They want to make sure it’s safe, which it is,” Kunce said. “Our facilities are totally safe. Our phlebotomists — or the people sticking you with the needle, doing the vampire’s work there — are safe. They’re following all the protocols that they need to.”

Only about 38% of Americans are eligible to give blood, according to Kunce. Most people can’t because they’re either too young, taking medications or have lived in countries with diseases like malaria.

The Red Cross in the Cascades region is asking people to donate. Appointments can be scheduled on the Red Cross’ website, by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a veteran journalist/producer working for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He started as a cub reporter for newspapers in London, England in 1988. Then in 1991 he moved to Oregon and started freelancing. His work has appeared in publications as varied as The Oregonian, the BBC, the Salem Statesman Journal, Willamette Week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NPR and the Voice of America. Kristian has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. He was embedded with the Oregon National Guard in Iraq in 2004 and now specializes in business, law, health and politics.