Local need critical for some blood types; Solvita, Red Cross push for donations

Red Cross says number of blood donors is at lowest point in 20 years; Solvita says donations down since COVID pandemic



The region’s primary blood center says it has a critical need for multiple blood types due to recent high usage of blood as well as low collections following the holiday period.

The call for local donations from Solvita comes after the American Red Cross, the nation’s largest blood supplier, sounded the alarm this week over a severe blood shortage affecting US hospitals across.

The Red Cross’ number of blood donors has dropped about 40% over the last 20 years, and today, it’s at its lowest point in those 20 years, said Marita Salkowski, regional communications director for the American Red Cross of Central and Southern Ohio.

Salkowski said Red Cross is responsible for the monitoring of the national blood supply network that fluctuates daily. The nonprofit organization ensures blood is distributed to where it is needed the most, she said.

She said the availability of blood can be the difference between life and death for someone needing medical care, noting someone in the US needs blood every two seconds.

“Only 3% of those who are eligible to give blood actually donate,” Salkowski said.

Mark Pompilio, spokesman for Dayton-based Solvita Blood Center, said Type O blood is currently in low supply here, and there is a critically scarce supply of type B blood. He also said the local shortages do mirror what is happening at the national level.

Solvita, the former Community Blood Center, is a independent nonprofit organization that collects blood and tissue donations.

Pompilio said Type O is the universal blood type and in constant demand for emergency usage, while Type B is rarer with fewer available donors.

He said a shooting and multi-vehicle collision on U.S. 35 in Dayton on Monday resulted in a spike in blood usage, with 20 blood products transfused.

Pompilio said all blood donations are welcome, adding that donations through Solvita are distributed throughout the Miami Valley.

“We have 18 counties in western Ohio and east central Indiana where we supply hospitals,” he said. “We’re coming off the holidays and that has a lingering hangover effect (for donations).”

Pompilio said it also takes time after the holidays to ramp up school and workplace blood donation drives. Weather issues and flu season can also affect donors getting to a blood center.

He also said anecdotally, donations at high schools are 20% less and workplaces/businesses are 20% to 30% less since the pandemic.



“We have an immediate need, and we are calling on the community for help,” said Tracy Morgan, Solvita vice president for donor services. “We anticipate demand to increase and collections at blood drives to become more challenging with the return of winter weather. We’re also concerned about the increasing impact of flu and other illness on the availability of donors.”

The Red Cross also expressed worries about donations during winter and flu season.

Sarah Hackenbracht, CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said the local blood supply is being monitored, adding there is a low supply of Type O and a critically scarce supply of Type B+/B- blood.

“We’re looking to bolster the blood supply because of the low donations during the holiday season,” she said.

GDAHA represents 29 hospitals and medical facilities in the 11-county Dayton region who rely on Solvita for their blood supply. The organization encourages blood donations.

The Red Cross declared its first-ever blood crisis during a COVID surge in early 2022, calling that the worst shortage in over a decade, affecting hospitals’ ability to serve patients.

The pandemic contributed to donor decline, as more people stayed home and missed blood drives, many of which were coordinated with local businesses, according to the Red Cross. Prior to that, hospital protocols and changes in eligibility — like minimum hemoglobin levels — had already challenged the nonprofit’s ability to keep a donor base.

Solvita has pointed to the importance of January as National Blood Donor Awareness Month, which was proclaimed in 1969. The Ohio General Assembly declared January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month in 2018. The joint purpose is to honor donors and encourage more donations during the winter months when the holidays, severe weather, and seasonal illness make it difficult to maintain a sufficient blood supply.

Where to donate blood in Miami Valley

Here is a list of blood donation sites in the Miami Valley through Jan. 20.

Save time while helping save lives by using “DonorXPress” to complete the donor questionnaire before arriving at a blood drive. Find DonorXPress on the Donor Time App or at www.givingblood.org/donorxpress.

Friday, Jan. 12

Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce noon to 3 p.m. at 33 S. Seventh St., Richmond, Ind.

Family Resource Center Sidney Campus 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 1101 N. Vandemark Road, Sidney.

Saturday, Jan. 13

Cambridge City Christian Church 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 106 W. Church St., Cambridge City, Ind.

Champaign County YMCA 9 a.m. to noon at 191 Community Drive, Urbana.

Eaton First Church of God 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 601 East Lexington Road, Eaton.

Waynesville 8 a.m. to noon at the Waynesville Masonic Temple, 1351 Lytle Road.

Monday, Jan. 15

Fairfield Fire Department 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 375 Nilles Road.

Parkview Church 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 3713 Benner Road, Miamisburg.

Sibcy Cline Realtors Lebanon 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 103 Oregonia Road.

Versailles 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Versailles Knights of Columbus Hall, 8440 Ohio 47.

Tuesday, Jan. 16

Lincoln Electric Automation 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 407 S. Main St., Fort Loramie.

Lynn Friends 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 311 S. Main St., Lynn.

Mercer Health Mercer County Community Hospital noon to 6 p.m. in the east wing conference rooms, 800 W. Main St., Coldwater.

Sidney 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Sidney American Legion Post 217, 1265 N. Fourth St.

Wednesday, Jan. 17

Atrium Medical Center noon to 6 p.m. in the Professional Building fifth-floor auditorium, 1 Medical Center Drive, Middletown.

Champaign County 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Champaign County Community Center, 1512 S. U.S. 68, Urbana.

Miami Valley Hospital North 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 9000 N. Main St., Dayton.

Oakwood noon to 6 p.m. at the Oakwood Community Center, 105 Patterson Road.

Sidney-Shelby County YMCA 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 300 E. Parkwood St., Sidney.

Thursday, Jan. 18

Ansonia High School 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 600 E. Canal St.

Hamilton noon to 6:30 p.m. in the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton Riverview Ballroom, 1 Riverfront Plaza.

Living Water Lutheran Church 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 667 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Centerville.

Primex Plastics Corporation 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 1235 N. F St., Richmond, Ind.

Richmond State Hospital 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 498 N.W. 18th St., Richmond, Ind.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 400 Nilles Road, Fairfield.

Friday, Jan. 19

First Bank Richmond 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 31 N. Ninth St., Richmond, Ind.

Greenville Federal Bank 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 690 Wagner Ave.

Greenville Federal Bank Troy 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 948 N. Market St.

Hagerstown High School 8 a.m. to noon at 700 Baker Road.

Montgomery County Environmental Services noon to 3 p.m. at 1850 Spaulding Road, Dayton.

Springfield Family YMCA 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 300 S. Limestone St.

Victory Life Christian Center 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1862 U.S. 68 South, Xenia.

Saturday, Jan. 20

Bellefontaine Moose Lodge 8 a.m. to noon at 912 S. Detroit St.

Newspring Church 8 a.m. to noon at 1150 S. Main St., Springboro.

Blood drive in honor of Nolan O’Neill 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mother Stewart’s Brewing, 102 W. Columbia St., Springfield.

Plattsburg United Church of Christ 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at 1715 South Urbana-Lisbon Road, South Charleston.

Zion Lutheran Church 8 a.m. to noon in Mullen Hall, 5550 Munger Road, Dayton.

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