TUCSON (KVOA) – A national blood shortage is being felt here locally in southern Arizona. The summer months are typically rough on the American Red Cross, but the pandemic has made the situation even more critical.
When everything shut down back in March of 2020, that included many companies that hosted blood drives. And, many regular donors stopped rolling up their sleeves.
"Because of the pandemic, we had a lot of people felt that it wasn't safe to do so. Or, they are just doing other things," said Mike Sagara of the Southern Arizona Red Cross.
Now that the country is starting to open back up, many people who put off elective surgeries are heading back to local hospitals. Add that to the number of rising trauma cases and organ transplants, and the need for blood is now greater than ever.
"We do have a severe shortage of blood products, so we encourage people to come out to donate," said Sagara.
The Red Cross says that each time you donate blood, it can save three lives. News 4 Tucson Meteorologist Shea Sorenson recently answered the call to donate, and the Red Cross hopes others will join her. The organization is offering some incentives in hopes of getting you in the door.
"The 14th through the end of the month, all folks who make an appointment and do donate will get a $5 amazon gift card," said volunteer Ed Alexander.
But if giving blood isn't for you, that's not the only way you can help.
"We also need volunteers, especially now with the wildfires and we're coming into the summer heat as well," Sagara added.
Walk-ins are currently not accepted, you must sign up for an appointment.
To find the nearest blood donation location to you and to sign up for an appointment, click here.
For more information on the Southern Arizona Red Cross, click here.