TUPELO - Vitalant has declared a critical shortage of blood as supplies have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shelter-in-place orders led to 950 blood drives canceled since early March in this region alone, resulting in a loss of more than 19,000 uncollected blood donations. That, coupled with a resumption of surgeries and other medical procedures as stay-at-home restrictions were lifted, has caused a 25% increase in the need for blood during the past several weeks.

All blood types are critically needed right now, with an especially high need for type O, A-negative and B-negative red blood cells. In addition, platelets are always needed by patients for cancer treatments, surgeries and emergencies. Because of its short shelf life — only 5 days — the supply of platelets must be continually replenished.

In Mississippi, Vitalant must collect 250 blood donations per day to meet patients’ transfusion needs. Every two seconds, someone needs blood.

The U.S. Surgeon General and Federal Emergency Management Agency have designated blood donation as an essential activity, encouraging healthy and eligible donors to continue to donate even amidst COVID-19 response measures. All Vitalant centers continue to deploy strict precautionary measures to ensure the safety of donors, patients and staff.

Donors are urged to give blood as soon as possible by going online to vitalant.org or calling 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL).

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