SPOKANE, Wash. - The need for blood hasn't gone away because of the pandemic, in fact, it's more important now than ever that Spokane residents donate.
However, people aren't signing up or showing up and it could cause an even bigger problem within weeks.
"We have not given the hospitals their normal levels since January," Vitalant Regional Director for the NW division Jennifer Hawkins said.
Blood shortages sweeping the nation are also hitting us here at home.
"It is really empty," Donor Recruitment Manager for the NW region Erin Baker said.
Right now, Vitalant, a company with blood banks across the country, is dealing with what they call a "perfect storm."
"We're only filling 38% to capacity and on top of that seeing a 35% of that not come in," Hawkins said.
No shows and no sign-ups are diminishing stock to just 3 days of blood supply and the answer "No we can't help" is becoming all too frequent.
"If we keep up at the pace we are at right now... we are losing ground every single day," she said.
Going to other states for help isn't an option either.
"I can't go to the red cross, I can't go to other smaller blood centers across the country because they are in the same phenomenon," she said.
The solution is easier than people realize, but the importance is lost on many.
"A lot of people who donate blood are people who've experienced somebody in their family or circle who has needed blood so if you don't have that or don't experience that then you don't really think about it," Baker said.
"My son was going through chemotherapy - he had leukemia and he really had low counts. We were on our way to the hospital, my son and I in the car, and we received a phone call from the hospital saying you can't come in today the blood center does not have the blood that you need," Hawkins said. "That is a scary moment for us."
"It's probably the worst feeling in the world to tell somebody ‘Listen we don't have what you need," Baker said.
Now there are barriers, of course, you must wear a mask and be healthy to donate. Baker said the number one reason people don't donate blood is that they haven't been asked.
Now they're asking. There are several blood drives this week – the list is below.