Latest COVID-19 surge leads to blood drive cancellations and potential loss of blood donations

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center needs 600 pints of blood donations a day to keep up with hospital demand and currently have a deficit of around 400 pints due to the shortage of blood donations.

VICTORIA, Texas – Representatives from the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center say that their supply of blood donations was already stretched thin over the holidays and the latest surge of Omicron cases have disrupted the flow of blood donations.

With blood donations running low, hospitals and those who depend on the donated blood, are feeling the strain of the ongoing pandemic. A surge of Omicron cases has stunted many of the blood donation drives that would normally supply area hospitals with blood. A wide variety of people rely on blood donations, from accident and burn victims, heart surgery, and organ transplant patients, or those undergoing treatment for leukemia or cancer are all examples of those who are in need of blood donations.

Ginger Kolle, a supervisor for the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, says that COVID-19 is to blame for the canceled blood drives.

“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve had about 10 cancellations, and all of them are due to COVID, for various reasons. They don’t have enough staff available, because they have staff that are out with COVID,” says Kolle. She also says that many of their blood donation drives are held at schools and businesses, and with many going back to virtual learning or remote work, these in-person blood drives are being canceled.

Kolle says that the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center needs about 600 units, or pints, of blood per day to keep up with the hospitals’ demand, and these cancellations have resulted in a deficit of around 400 units of blood, something she says will be hard to make up with the continued cancellations of blood drives.

In an effort to combat the low supply of blood donations, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is offering a free pint of ice cream from H-E-B, a long sleeve t-shirt, and points that can be redeemed for gift cards when you donate blood. For more information about the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center and how to donate blood, you can visit their website here. They have a location in Victoria located at 1109 Sam Houston Dr.

Another organization, the American Red Cross, is giving away two tickets to this year’s Superbowl to one lucky winner who will be chosen near the end of this month. For more information about donating blood through the American Red Cross, you can visit their website here. They have a blood drive in Houston on January 12 and 26, in Del Valle on January 18, and in Austin on January 20.