The American Red Cross and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies released a joint statement on Monday, stating that blood donations are reaching record-breaking lows right now.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local blood drive organizations are in desperate need of blood donations.

The American Red Cross and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies released a joint statement on Monday, stating that blood donations are reaching record-breaking lows right now.

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Another organization, OneBlood, is experiencing the same situation.

“This is probably the most challenging time for OneBlood in our history. It is a tough environment right now with the pandemic,” said Susan Forbes with OneBlood.

Forbes says COVID-19 is causing the number of donors to decrease.

“We are in a situation with this pandemic that is indefinitely disrupting the blood supply,” said Forbes.

Forbes says in order to donate, you must be health…and you can’t have COVID-19.

“Right now we are in one of those situations where you are seeing a surge in cases again and that impacts the donor base. Because there’s that many more people who aren’t eligible to donate,” said Forbes.

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She says aside from regular donors not being able to come in, donation events are also being impacted.

“Remote work is in place at many offices still, so at corporate drives, the participation rate isn’t what it used to be at some of these locations because people are working from home and they aren’t there when we go to do the blood drive,” said Forbes.

OneBlood also used to take their blood donation bus to large annual events that attract big crowds in the Tampa Bay Area.

“Festivals and things like that in our community, those don’t happen anymore,” said Forbes.

OneBlood says staffing at the organization is also being impacted, as many employees are also getting sick from COVID-19…but OneBlood isn’t the only one experiencing the staffing and blood shortage. This statement from American Red Cross and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies says “In recent weeks, blood centers across the country have reported less than a one-day’s supply of blood of certain critical blood types—a dangerously low level.”

Dr. Claudia Cohn with AABB says the need for blood is more urgent than ever right now as hospitals continue to fill up with patients.

“It’s critical at this point in time. We like to have about five days of blood on the shelf, that is when we are comfortable. We dropped down to three days for a while and that was considered urgent…or code orange. Now we are in the critical range. We are in some cases less than one day’s worth of blood on the shelf in blood centers around the country,” said Dr. Cohn.

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“It’s about having that sustained donor response,” said Forbes.