Red Cross facing emergency blood shortage as supply dips to lowest in a decade

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CHICAGO (WLS) -- The American Red Cross says they're seeing an emergency blood shortage and are issuing an urgent plea for blood donations across the country.

Joy Squier, regional communications and marketing officer with the Illinois Red Cross, joined ABC7 Eyewitness News live to talk about the urgent need.

"This shortage has been ongoing for about three or four weeks," Squier said. "Usually blood increases in the fall and we don't typically see a shortage. But this is the lowest blood has been in the last 10 years."

Squier said that rebound is likely not happening this year due to the pandemic.

"We ordinarily collect a lot of blood at high schools and colleges and in corporations, and with people not quite being back to normal, we've had to change where we're collecting," Squier said. "We still have a lot of blood drives that are open that people can go to, but it's not top of mind for people."

According to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds.

"You depend on life-saving blood when you don't expect it," Squier said. "People who are having cancer treatments, birth trauma, accident victims, people with chronic blood conditions like sickle cell, all need life-saving blood, so it's very important we help our hospital partners here and get people out to donate."

All types of blood are needed. Currently, blood type O, both positive and negative, is running especially low, Squier said.

You can find a blood drive near you by entering your zip code at
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