Critical shortage of blood supply in Montana while need increases by 25%

BILLINGS, Mont. - The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted all aspects of life and that includes blood supply. Vitalant, an independent blood collector in Montana has declared a critical shortage of blood.

Every two seconds, someone is in need of blood and although donations looked like they were starting to pick up but with elective surgeries now resuming and other medical procedures taking place, Vitalant is declaring blood supplies at critical levels.

Donor Recruitment Manager Erin Baker says Montana needs an average of two hundreds units of blood every day to be able to support the community's hospitals and they're currently averaging around 90 units a day.

"We've had like I said over a hundred drives cancelled since the beginning of March and we are seeing more cancellations into June because people aren't back to normal so a lot of businesses, churches that we depend on, they don't have anybody coming into work,"says Baker.

You might think the number one reason people don't donate blood is because they're afraid, Baker says it's actually because they were never asked.

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, Baker says it's now more important than ever for people to donate.

"Basically there's a lot more trauma, a lot more accidents. Also you're getting into vacation time, there's less people donating because they are on vacation and that's kind of what we see. It happens every single year, during the summer time," says Baker.

While blood only last 42 days, Vitalant is calling on the community to help combat the shortage.

"Well you can donate red cells every 56 days, but what we tell people is if every eligible donor donated three times a year, we could avoid shortages like this."

If you aren't ready to donate, Baker says they are looking for volunteers to donate their time.

If you'd like to schedule an appointment to donate or volunteer, you can reach Vitalant at 877-258-4825. You can also visit their website by, clicking here.