BUFFALO, N.Y. — ConnectLife is in dire need of blood donations.
The organization declared a blood emergency on Tuesday, saying it has less than a one-day supply of type O blood and a two day supply for other blood types.
ConnectLife points to a 20 percent increase in "hospital utilization of blood due to traumas and surgeries" over the past few weeks, bringing the local and national blood supply to a dangerously low level.
“Blood collection cannot keep pace with the rate at which our local hospitals are using blood across WNY,” said Mark J. Simon, President and CEO of ConnectLife. “Throughout the pandemic we have struggled to maintain a safe supply level, and continue to appeal to the community that they must prioritize donating blood to help save patients’ lives.”
ConnectLife is the main supplier of blood in Western New York, supplying blood to Kaleida Health, ECMC, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Eastern Niagara Health, Wyoming County Community Health System, Olean General Hospital, Brooks-TLC Health System and Bradford Regional Medical Center.
"More than ever now is a good time to consider donating," said Dr. Kathryn Bass, pediatric surgeon and director of the Level I Pediatric Trauma Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital. "Type O is the universal blood donor, and it is what we reach for in trauma situations."
"So many more people can donate blood and think they can," said Amanda Farrell, director of donor recruitment at ConnectLife. "You have to be 16 [years old], weigh at least 120 pounds to donate whole blood and be in good health."
Farrell also provided some clarity on questions related to COVID-19.
"If you have received any one of the approved COVID vaccines, you are eligible to donate there is no wait period," she said. "And if you recovered from COVID, and are out of the quarantine window and are feeling well, you are able to donate as well."
There is no substitute for human blood. Hospitals are reliant upon donors.
ConnectLife is asking anyone who is eligible to donate blood to do so. Anyone looking to make an appointment can call (716) 529-4270.