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Blood Provider Sees Considerable Dip In Donations, Drop In Supply

The ImpactLife blood donation center on Glen Ave. in Peoria, formerly the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
Joe Deacon
The ImpactLife blood donation center on Glen Ave. in Peoria, formerly the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.

A spokesman for the blood provider that serves most of the hospitals in the Peoria area says a dip in donations during the week of Memorial Day has significantly reduced supply.

Kirby Winn, public relations manager for ImpactLife (formerly the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center), said the agency normally targets about 3,600 weekly donations to have a 5-to-7 day supply for the 120 hospitals it supplies across Illinois, including OSF HealthCare and UnityPoint Health facilities.

“Of course, we collect blood daily and so it's okay if it dips below that comfort level. More recently, we have seen about 3,100-3,200, so we we've been below the 3,600 pretty consistently and that leaves us with a 2-3 day supply,” said Winn. “But the week of Memorial Day was just 2,500 donations.”

Winn said the drop-off could be partially attributed to a four-day week to start June, and a typical decline in donations during the summer months. But it’s still significant.

“That 2,500 represented the lowest week of blood donation that we have seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “That was really noteworthy to us, because there were some weeks very early on with a lot of blood drive cancellations and there were a lot of people staying home in general.”

Winn said the supply shortage hasn’t quite reached a crisis level, and ImpactLife is actively recruiting donors to make sure it doesn’t reach that point.

“We've got to improve our results week-by-week, because otherwise we'll be down at more of a 1-2 day supply,” he said. “We're not talking about canceling procedures or surgery or anything like that; blood is available at the hospitals and we can manage our inventory when the numbers get low.

“But we've also got to work ahead to recruit more donors and have more people coming in to avoid an actual shortage in the blood supply.”

Earlier this week, Aurora-based Versiti Blood Center of Illinois issued an emergency appeal for blood donations, with O-negative and O-positive types in high demand all across the state. The American Red Cross also reported a severe blood shortage nationwide due to a rise in trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.