The Red Cross declared a national blood crisis earlier this month as blood donations have dropped over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Red Cross is calling it the worst blood shortage in over a decade, having seen a 10% drop in donations since March 2020.
State health officials on Monday listed a blood shortage as one of the reasons they activated crisis standards of care in Southern Idaho — allowing hospitals to ration care based on the likelihood of survival. Nationwide, the shortage has left doctors with difficult decisions to make on who will receive blood transfusions and who will have to wait until more blood becomes available.
“We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said in a press release. “We need the help of the American people.”
Several factors can prevent a person from donating blood.
Some of the notable restrictions for Idahoans include being at least 17 years old to donate without parental permission, weighing at least 110 pounds, and having not received a tattoo or piercing within the last three months. Idaho is one of 10 states that does not regulate tattoo shops, meaning there is a risk of hepatitis spreading from the instruments and needles used. The Food and Drug Administration also places restrictions on gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
The Treasure Valley has multiple locations where people can donate blood and platelets. You can make an appointment online for a blood drive, redcrossblood.org, or contact one of these locations in the Treasure Valley to set up an appointment:
Boise Red Cross Blood, Platelet and Plasma Donation Center: 5380 W. Franklin Road, Boise. Phone number: (800) 733-2767
BioLife Plasma Services, Boise: 4120 N. Eagle Road, Boise. Phone number: (208) 938-5500
BioLife Plasma Services, Nampa: 16558 N. Midland Blvd., Nampa. Phone number: (208) 463-1331
BioMat USA Boise: 4017 W. Overland Road, Boise. Phone number: (208) 338-8417
CSL Plasma, Boise: 3419 N. Cole Road, Boise. Phone number: (208) 917-8619
CSL Plasma, Nampa: 3309 Caldwell Blvd., Nampa. Phone number: (208) 205-8463