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Blood shortage in Western New York has stabilized during pandemic

Posted at 4:47 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 05:32:41-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Weeks ago, we told you about the urgent need for blood in Western New York and beyond. There was a shortage because many people had stopped donating and blood drives were canceled because of the pandemic.

We're now learning the Red Cross is meeting demands in our community.

The shortage, first reported several weeks ago, has stabilized.

We're told blood has a shelf life of a little more than a month, so there will always be a need for donors.

Thing is, there's also an increasing need for convalescent plasma, from people who've tested positive for the antibodies to COVID-19. Plasma only has a shelf life of several days.

While there was an urgent need for blood, could there be an urgent need for plasma?

"It's hard," said Jay Bonafede. Bonafede is the Chief Communications Officer for the Red Cross in our area. "I think it depends on the hospital needs at this point and the kind of patients they're seeing. It's hard to really say that. I do know, just like the whole blood, if there's an emergency, that patient can't wait. They need that blood that's on the shelves and again, that's a perishable product which is why there's an ongoing need. It's going to be very similar depending on how this process goes."

The Red Cross is urging you to make an appointment to donate blood if you can. At least at this point, it's about more than just the coronavirus.

"Things like cancer patients, or a mother who has a complication giving birth -- a sickle cell anemia patient-- those people still need blood on the shelves no matter what else happens," Bonafede said.

You can find out how to make an appointment to donate blood by clicking here.

You can find out how to donate plasma for COVID patients by clicking here.