Red Cross faces ‘critical challenges’ as blood drives get canceled

Red Cross faces ‘critical challenges’ as blood drives get canceled
The American Red Cross says it is facing "critical challenges" during the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: WALB)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The American Red Cross says it is facing blood shortages and challenges to adjust service in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We cannot lose sight of the fact that the Red Cross must continue to provide our mission critical services," spokesman Ben Williamson said. "The residents of South Carolina depend on us."

The organization says an unprecedented number of blood drives have been canceled during the outbreak. As of Wednesday, Williamson said about 7,000 drives have been called off nationwide. That means about 200,000 fewer blood donations.

On top of the dramatic drop in blood donations, Red Cross is also facing a financial challenge because of changes the pandemic is causing to their workflow.

"We estimate over $150 million in increased costs over the next six months just to operate normally," Williamson said.

Red Cross officials are asking for donations designated to the coronavirus outbreak to help the organization can maintain a sufficient supply of blood and potentially add more staff and resources to make sure it has enough people to collect vital blood products for hospital patients in need.

To donate to help the American Red Cross , visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word CORONAVIRUS to 90999.

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