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Posted on: November 21, 2022

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This is the press release from Bloodworks Northwest on November 15, 2022


“Triple Whammy” Hits Local Blood Supply Bloodworks Northwest Hard Hit by 15% Increase in Type O Blood Usage and a Big Drop in Donations Due to Cold Weather, Flu Season and Even Election “Noise” Thanksgiving Holiday Shortage Could Impact Trauma and Cancer Treatments Nearly 7,000 Open Appointments Between Now and December 

(November 15th, 2022 – Seattle, WA)

Bloodworks Northwest reports a “triple whammy” is hitting the local supply of Type O blood and platelets hard headed into the holiday season. Bloodworks is experiencing a 15% increase in hospital usage and a concerning drop in donations, according to this week’s Community Blood Supply Forecast. Only last week, the overall blood supply was listed as “Stable.” Despite great community response, today it’s slipped to “Alert” status just days away from Thanksgiving Holiday during a time of increased blood usage. Currently, Type O and Platelets levels are hovering between critical and emergency. A further drop in donations could impact care of trauma and cancer patients. 

Several reasons account for this big drop in donations including cold weather, flu season, and a spike in election “noise,” distracting donors’ inboxes with last-minute election appeals. As a result, there are now nearly 7,000 open appointments from now until early December. 

“Type O and Platelet supplies are crashing which puts patient care in peril,” said Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, Co-Chief Medical Officer at Bloodworks Northwest. “This is a reminder that even as our lives get busy, it takes 1,000 donations a day, every day, to meet the local needs of trauma, cancer, and surgery patients. As you’re making holiday plans, please take one hour to give blood.” 

Bloodworks Northwest is making an urgent call for new and returning blood and platelet donors to book appointments, and, just as importantly, to keep appointments now, or call to reschedule if feeling unwell. Bloodworks is reminding people that donors can donate blood ten days after Covid-19 symptons resolve, and that COVID and Flu vaccinations do not affect your ability to donate blood. Bloodworks Northwest urges community members of all blood types to rush to book appointments at Donor Centers and Pop-Up Blood Drives this holiday season.

Some Facts

  • In the past 4 weeks, we have seen 1,000 less blood donations each week than what we typically need with a 15% increase in usage. 
  • Type O inventory dropped 40%, leaving our community 600 units below operational levels and a 24 hour supply.
  • All other blood types have dropped as well, leaving us 400 units lower than we need to meet patient needs. 
  • Over 3,700 appointments times available in next 12 days. 
  • New appointment times and holiday hours have been added to make donating even more convenient. 
  • Type O blood is vital for emergency situations – 39% of the population is Type O+ and 9% is type O-. 
  • Platelets help control bleeding for cancer patients and can only be stored for 5-7 days. 

Donors can learn if they qualify for platelet donation by asking for a platelet count at their next whole blood donation. Donations with Bloodworks provide 95% of the lifesaving blood supply to Pacific Northwest hospitals. It takes about an hour to give blood from check-in to post-donation cookie. Appointments and masks are required. Information about who can donate and where, is available at www.bloodworksnw.org

Bloodworks Donor Centers and Pop-Up Centers

Appointments and information at BloodworksNW.org or 800-398-7888. See our list of Donor Centers and Pop-Up locations


Book your appointment today
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