LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Blood banks across the country have experienced stock shortages for the majority of the pandemic since the discovery of COVID-19 in the United States.
But this isn't quite an issue of supply chain and manufacturing like many other industries have faced.
The Nebraska Community Blood Bank is down to dire levels: there is a one to two day supply available of most blood types, well below the ideal inventory of five to seven days, and the universal donor type O negative (O-) is at a less than one-day supply.
Due in part to regular donors working and learning remotely or in hybrid models, blood drives have seen significant declines in donations. It could be seen as a sort of out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation, with lessened foot traffic by places that blood drives are normally held such as community centers, colleges, places of worship and work.
The NCBB said it often experiences cyclical shortages around the winter holidays for a variety of reasons including unpredictable weather, seasonal sicknesses and vacations, but the new omicron variant of COVID-19 has further exacerbated the shortage.
“Donating blood is the best gift you can give this holiday season,” said Cheryl Warholoski, Nebraska director of operations for NCBB. “It takes one hour and doesn’t cost you a dime. Plus, we’ve taken extra precautions throughout the pandemic.”
The NCBB said there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread or contracted through blood donations or transfusions. Staff at the blood centers are still wearing face masks and are encouraging donors to make appointments in order to be socially distanced.
Those interested in donating blood to the Nebraska Community Blood Bank can register here online.