Blood drive hosted in Riverside amid national blood supply shortage, calls for more donations

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Sunday, January 30, 2022
Riverside hosts blood drive amid national blood supply shortage
Employees at Riverside Community Hospital rolled up their sleeves for a mobile blood drive, as a national blood supply shortage threatens the ability for hospitals to treat patients.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A national blood supply shortage is threatening ability for hospitals to treat patients, and on Friday, employees at Riverside Community Hospital were among the first to roll up their sleeves for a mobile blood drive.

"I have O-positive blood. So, my blood will be used, it's needed," said Yolanda Lozano, an oncology nurse navigator.

The hospital hosted LifeStream's mobile blood drive in the parking lot outside the emergency department.

"As the county's Level One trauma center, we certainly have a need for blood as a life sustaining measure for our trauma patients, and some of our other more critically ill patients. So the need for blood in the community, and the shortage that we're currently experiencing, is paramount to us," said Nick Johnson, Vice President of Surgical Services.

Blood centers like LifeStream are experiencing the worst blood supply shortage in over a decade.

"In normal times, pre-pandemic, we like to have anywhere from seven to 14 days worth of blood on hand. Right now, we are down to about a one-day supply," said Adam Botello with LifeStream Blood Bank in San Bernardino.

Prior to the pandemic, 40 percent of LifeStream's blood donations came from high school and college campus drives, but school closures, along with safety precautions, have disrupted those once available sources.

"If you can, just give its a shot. There is a lot of people who don't have the opportunity to help somebody," said Brandon Herron.

As a universal blood donor with type O-negative blood, Herron is heeding the call to help those in his community.

"We are specifically looking for O-negative, O-positive donors, but we will literally take anybody willing to come in," said Botello.

Riverside Community Hospital hosts blood drives on the last Friday of each month. You can also go to LifeStream's website to find the nearest mobile blood drive or center near you.