In response to a nationwide blood shortage, The University of Toledo is partnering with the American Red Cross to host blood drives Tuesday, Jan. 25, and Wednesday, Feb. 9.
The Red Cross says the shortage — the most critical in more than a decade — is tied closely to the high number of COVID-19 infections around the country.
The organization, which supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood, has seen a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the situation has worsened recently as the omicron-fueled surge has caused staffing limitations and led to the cancellation of blood drives.
Dr. Michael Ellis, an infectious disease specialist and chief medical officer at The University of Toledo Medical Center, said it is crucial that prospective donors roll up their sleeves.
“Locally and nationally, hospital operations have already been disrupted due to staffing shortages and the care of patients with COVID-19. Now, the blood shortage further threatens safe and effective care — especially for trauma, emergency surgery and oncology patients,” he said. “Donating blood allows citizens to do their part in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and its untoward reverberations throughout our society.”
The Jan. 25 blood drive will be held on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Campus in the Thompson Student Union. Appointments are required. Individuals can sign up by visiting redcrossblood.org and entering the sponsor code UTMAIN.
The Feb. 9 blood drive will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Health Science Campus in the Morse Center, located on the third floor of Dowling Hall. Appointments can be made by visiting redcrossblood.org and entering the sponsor code UTMED.
Individuals also may call 1.800.RED.CROSS (733.2767) for further information and scheduling.
Donors at the Main Campus blood drive will receive a $5 Chipotle gift card and a T-shirt.
Donors at the Health Science Campus drive will receive a $5 Chipotle gift card and a $10 Amazon gift card. Additionally, the UTMC department with the highest level of participation will win a pizza party.
“We should take heart that there is an intensely personal and tangible action we can take to help others in our community,” Ellis said. “Besides receiving our recommended vaccinations to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, and besides following recommended community health measures to prevent the spread of disease, we can give our own blood to help save the life of another person.”