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Coronavirus leaves blood in short supply

Emergency drives to replenish stock
Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 17:21:26-04

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — It’s donations by appointment only, but Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski made a point of fitting his donation into his busy schedule.

“Even in the midst of this crisis, the need hasn’t stopped so I want to come out personally and give some of my O-negative blood,” said Olszewski. “I like to think of myself as positive, but Johnny O-negative I guess today.”

In the last six weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of 10,000 blood drives across the country---the equivalent to 300,000 individual donations.

“There’s a definite chance that you could run out of blood,” said Meosha Hudson of the American Red Cross. “It’s a constant need for this product. The shelf life is very short, and if we have patients that are in need of products for things like transfusions or surgeries or any critical care, those blood products have to be on the shelf and they’re used on a regular basis.”

While the supply is weak, the desire to give remains strong.

For the safety of volunteers and donors, each person is asked to sign up ahead of time, to have their temperature taken at the door and to maintain social distancing once they’re inside.

You can go to and enter your zip code to find the blood drive nearest you.

“They’ve done an excellent job in keeping proper distancing and making sure the facility is adequately clean,” said Robert Murray who stopped by to donate with his wife. “I know some people may be a little afraid to come out, and I can appreciate that, but I think it’s time for all of us to pitch in and do the best we can.”

Marylanders are allowed to go out and donate blood under the governor’s executive stay-at-home order.