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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Increased blood usage from hospitals leaves Arkansas in serious need of donations

About 1,200 donors are generally needed each day to ensure a healthy blood supply.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Hospital blood usage has surged nearly 10 percent over previous levels, as our community moved into COVID recovery mode. Blood donors are needed immediately to respond.

March was the highest distribution of certain blood products in our history of Arkansas Blood Institute.

The dramatic increase in hospital usage comes at a time when local patients return to the medical system for planned and routine medical care. Trauma-related blood needs have also increased dramatically, as Arkansans return to vigorous spring activities and travel.

“We’re thankful that COVID has receded enough for Arkansans to create a new normal and get caught up on deferred medical care,” said Dr. John Armitage, President and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “But, the impact of this return to normalcy has stressed our blood supply in yet another way. The COVID pandemic continues to surprise and challenge us.”

The local blood supply typically operates at a three-day supply, but the surge in demand has lowered levels to a one-day supply. Recent vaccination efforts have also challenged giving levels, as some donors mistakenly believe they can’t donate after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine.

While COVID-19 vaccines aren’t required to donate, those who have been vaccinated can donate immediately, if they’re feeling well.

Blood donation takes about an hour and can save up to three lives. About 1,200 donors are generally needed each day to ensure a healthy blood supply.

Donors can make appointments to donate at arkbi.org or walk-in to any mobile blood drive or donation center to give.