Blood banks are experiencing severe shortages


A quilt on the wall at Blood Assurance in Cartersville, made of donor t-shirts. Photo by David Patel, Senior Staff Writer.

According to the American Red Cross, thousands of blood drives have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These blood drive cancelations have led to what the Red Cross calls “severe” shortages in blood banks.
Blood donation centers are still operating and supplying medical facilities with the blood they need.
During this time, while safe social distancing is recommended, most donation sites have moved to an appointment-only format to limit the number of people in their facilities.
As of April 1, the Red Cross’ Marietta donation center was booked through Easter, with the earliest available appointment window on April 14.
Potential donors in the area, who wish to give blood sooner, can check with the Chattanooga-based Blood Assurance, a regional non-profit organization which has convenient locations in Rome and Cartersville.
One main difference between donating with the Red Cross and donating with an organization like Blood Assurance is that the Blood Assurance keeps their

David is being prepped to donate blood. Photo by David Patel, Senior Staff Writer.

donations local.
“When you donate here at the Cartersville site, your blood will usually go to Cartersville Medical Center,” said Donor Care Specialist, Ava Voyles.
The actual donation process typically takes five to 10 minutes for a whole blood donation, and donors can give blood every 56 days.
A donor unit in the collection bag amounts to about a pint of blood which, according to the Red Cross, can be used to save up to three lives.
According to their website, “Blood Assurance performs up to 13 tests on each unit of blood to ensure that the blood is safe” for its recipient(s).
These volunteer blood donations can be used to help patients in surgery, trauma victims, cancer patients and even premature babies.
Donors are typically required to be at least 17 years of age, weigh a minimum 110 lbs. and be in good health when giving blood. Potential donors meeting the other requirements may be allowed to donate at the age of 16 with parental consent.
Prior to donating, donors are encouraged to eat a good meal, and donation centers usually provide refreshments in the way of free snacks and drinks for donors.
Most donation centers even give donors a free commemorative T-shirt so that donors can advertise that they have given “the gift of life,” while encouraging others to do the same.
People who would like to donate blood with the American Red Cross can call 1-800-590-2767 or visit

Those who wish to visit Blood Assurance for a donation may call 1-800-962-0628, visit or simply text BAGIVE to 999777.

David Patel gives blood Tuesday, March 31st at Blood Assurance in Cartersville.
Photo by Ava Voyles, donor care specialist