Montana faces an emergency blood shortage, 1,000 more donations needed per week

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Danny Kopf donates blood for the third time in his life with the help of Assistant Donor Care Supervisor Sharon McKelvey Tuesday at Vitalant in Billings.

Ryan Berry, Billings Gazette EMILY SCHABACKER

A nationwide blood shortage is being felt locally as Montana’s primary blood supplier is calling for 1,000 more donations per week to ease the effects.

Nationally, 10,000 more donations are needed each week, according to the American Red Cross, which is seeing post-summer donations drop to its lowest levels in six years.

Donations and drives at Montana blood supplier Vitalant have been declining over the last few weeks as COVID-19 precautions force cancellation of blood drives.

Donations normally dip in the summer as vacation season takes off and school is out of session. Fall blood drives on high school and college campuses usually replenish blood banks and provide about 20 to 25% of blood supplies.

Normally, Vitalant strives to have four days worth of blood on hand, but in some places, there is less than a two-day supply, said Vitalant Communications Manager

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