ALTOONA, PA. (WTAJ) — Over 100 units of blood were donated to the American Red Cross at a blood drive at the Altoona Grand Hotel Wednesday.

The Red Cross says it currently has a “dangerously low blood supply” that has impacted the amount of blood transfusions hospitals can administer. A goal of reaching 75 units of blood was set for the drive but the outcome was greater and in total 123 units of blood were donated.

The shortage is why retired nurse Chris Smith was one of the first donors to show up Wednesday at the Altoona Grand Hotel, “I heard it was needed and in an O Negative and that’s a pretty rare one so, a lot of people can use O Negative, Smith said.

The Red Cross says it has less than a one-day supply of critical blood types, such as type O, and that nearly one-quarter of hospital blood supply needs are not being met.

Blood Donor Lou Nagle hooked up to an MCS+ 8150 device collecting multiple blood components at the Altoona Blood Drive.

“That’s where we like to feel comfortable to have that three to five day supply so, being at a one day supply is where we start, where we might need to start cutting hospital orders, that’s something we never want to do because that can impact the patient,” Kristy Replogle with the American Red Cross said.

Repologle says in addition to donations — the red cross is celebrating the 200th birthday of Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross and hospital nurse from the Civil War.  

“This time of year can be tough, obviously with the last couple years with covid and we have some staffing issues that are experiencing and the weather, we’ve recently had snow storms which have impacted our ability to collect blood, “Replogle said.

The Red Cross says if you’re healthy and able to donate, to please do so because the need for blood doesn’t stop, “Right now with the pandemic, the blood is low in a lot of places so it’s really important to get out, Replogle said.

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