Many people in Richmond and beyond are going on vacation for the first time since the start of the pandemic, leading to significant slowdowns in blood donations.
The American Red Cross is taking steps to keep its blood supply strong during the busy summer months. On Thursday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin attended the Real American Heroes Community Blood Drive in Petersburg to give blood and raise awareness about the need for donations.
In January, blood shortages locally and nationwide resulted in the American Red Cross only having a day’s worth of supplies, the lowest total in more than a decade.
While the Red Cross is not currently experiencing a shortage, the organization is making a push for more donations to maintain Food and Drug Administration blood supply benchmarks and avoid emergency situations.
People are also reading…
“We have to look at the blood supply not just as a Richmond supply, but as a holistic approach for the whole country because we’re a national supplier,” said Jonathan McNamara, Communications Director for the American Red Cross of Virginia.
According to McNamara, many hospitals see increases in trauma cases during the summer, increasing the need for blood during that time.
The summer heat combined with other weather events such as storms can lead to fewer people showing up to give blood, and in some cases, donation drives being canceled.
High schools and colleges being largely out of session during the summer also takes away a key blood donation base.
“Some of our largest drives are on high school and college campuses,” McNamara said. “Many of those same students who could theoretically donate at home are on vacation, working summer jobs or