PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Healthcare organizations across Hampton Roads are teaming up to encourage eligible donors to give blood this holiday season.

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“We can only deliver lifesaving blood to area hospitals with the support of our community,” said Jonathan McNamara, Communications Director for the American Red Cross Virginia Region. “There is no substitute for the local blood donors and volunteers who support our blood drives and as we move through the holiday season, we hope people join us in helping to build a more resilient blood supply.”

Health officials the American Red Cross, Bon Secours, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Riverside Health System and Sentara Healthcare are asking everyone to support their local chapter and donate blood.

While hospitals have been experiencing a higher demand for blood products this year compared to last year Sentara, Children’s Hospital of The Kings Daughters, and Riverside all report they can keep up with daily demands, but the situation is fluid.

The Red Cross says it needs 10,000 additional donations each week to make sure there is enough blood available.

Every two seconds in the U.S. someone needs blood due to surgery, illness, or a traumatic injury. However, with supplies down, officials worry they might not be able to meet that demand.

Healthcare organizations across Hampton Roads, as well as across the Commonwealth, are reporting a 41% reduction in blood donations versus last year.

Red Cross employees are following COVID-19 safety protocols at donation centers and blood drives:

  • Requiring face masks.
  • Wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection.
  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment.
  • Ensuring temperature checks are conducted on donors before they enter the blood drive or donation center

Find your nearest donation center by entering your zip code online.