Many Tri-State businesses and agencies continue to have a difficult time conducting "business as usual" with so many workers out sick or quarantined because of the current surge of COVID-19 and the Hoxworth Blood Center is no exception.
The center is facing a double shortage: staff and blood.
"We are in urgent need of several blood types, especially O-positive and type A-positive and A-negative," said Cara Nicolas, associate director of public relations for Hoxworth.
She said blood supplies are about 50% of what they normally have on their shelves, so the center is asking people to donate blood and blood products.
However, the options for donating have changed. Hoxworth had to suspend use of their blood mobiles until the end of January.
"It's really hard to practice social distancing in that small space," she said. "And just with the staffing problems that we are having we decided that it just makes more sense to have those people at our donor centers or indoor blood drives where people can be more spread out."
Nicolas said losing those blood mobiles have a noticeable impact on their daily blood donations because people who don't live close to a neighborhood donor center can't donate as readily.
The decrease in blood donations come at a time when the American Red Cross said the entire country is in the middle of the biggest blood crisis in ten years. But, Nicolas said, the need does not change.
"The need for blood doesn't stop just because we're living through a pandemic," said Nicolas, noting that a number of patients still need blood transfusions as part of their treatments. "Even though we're struggling to get staff and we're struggling to get donors in, patients are still going to need that blood and that's kind of the root of the issue."
Hoxworth serves 31 hospitals in 18 counties, and all of the blood collected in the Tri-State stays in the Tri-State. Currently, the blood center said it can meet its demands for blood and blood products.
But, the nationwide need is so critical that blood centers are unable to reach out to neighboring communities to borrow from their supply if necessary, Nicolas said.
"We can't rely on getting those from other blood centers in the United States and that's very concerning because as we all know you never know what every day is going to bring," she added.
Hoxworth is also used to an annual blood drive they hold with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on MLK Day. This year, that event is canceled because it uses a blood mobile. Instead, Hoxworth will have a week-long blood drive beginning Monday, January 17, 2022 at each of it's neighborhood donor centers in Anderson, Fort Mitchell, West Chester (North), Tri-County, West (Glenway Avenue), Blue Ash and the Central location at UC Medical Center.
In order to control social distancing, appointments are necessary by visiting Hoxworth'swebsite. Donors will be required to wear a mask and you are asked to postpone your visit if you have COVID-19, flu symptoms or feel sick.
Several locations are open daily.