Alert: Emergency Blood Shortage, Donors Critically Needed

October 28, 2020 – Arkansas Blood Institute is experiencing an emergency blood shortage and is issuing an urgent call for donors of all blood types.

A rare ice storm affecting neighboring parts of the service area has caused additional closures and cancellations, adding to the already critical problem of continuous blood drive cancellations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Arkansas Blood Institute is seeing a significant downturn in donations and has exhausted typical recruitment efforts.

Arkansas Blood Institute’s life-saving stock of blood has reached a less-than-one-day supply. Typically, Arkansas Blood Institute maintains a three- to five-day supply for local hospitals.

“COVID-19 has put tremendous strain on the blood supply for months, but this unseasonable inclement weather was the real catalyst for a blood emergency,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “The need for blood is constant - someone needs a life-saving transfusion every two seconds. We are calling on all healthy Arkansans to take about an hour of their time to give blood for our friends and neighbors in need.”

Arkansas Blood Institute encourages all Arkansans, age 16 and older, to donate blood as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment to give blood, call 1-877-340-8777 or find a blood drive near you.

You can also stop by one of our donor centers in:
Fort Smith
Hot Springs
Little Rock
North Little Rock

All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies to identify potential convalescent plasma donors.* Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations.

Volunteer donors with Arkansas Blood Institute exclusively provide every drop of blood needed for patients in 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide. One donation saves up to three lives. Arkansas Blood Institute depends on an average of 1,200 donors per day to meet the needs of patients in our state. These patients rely on blood to survive an emergency injury or illness, or for ongoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases and conditions.

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.  Donors ages 16 or 17-years old need parental consent to be screened for COVID-19 antibodies and are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma. This test has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of the IgG antibody against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations. Test results will be made available post-donation.

Bob Grant