CAPITAL REGION -- Blood supplies have reached critical levels at local Red Cross chapters, which could lead to the postponement of some surgeries should the next level of scarcity be reached.
Red Cross spokeswoman Patty Corvaia described "critical status" as being a state in which the Red Cross is dispensing as much blood as it is taking in through donations. The next level, "emergency status," involves cutting into supply reserves and eventually having to make triage choices, such as postponing surgeries involving blood transfusions.
A confluence of factors led to the shortage, according to Corvaia. Just like around this time last year, when critical levels were reached, people are less likely to donate blood in the summer months.
One reason is that many people are on vacation, but perhaps a bigger factor is that 20 percent of all donations come from high school and college students, who are out of session over the summer and also less likely to donate in their home towns.
“We need to make sure that blood is available for whatever the situation is,” Corvaia said, adding that the Red Cross tries to always have at least five days worth of blood on hand. “Right now, we have blood drives that are scheduled to happen, but we need people to come in and donate.”
The Red Cross has a walk-in center open every day for donations at 33 Everett Road in Albany.
Corvaia also advised going to http://www.redcross.org/, where people can enter their ZIP code to find the nearest and soonest blood drive.