You may be surprised to know that there is a national blood shortage happening right now. I hadn't heard anything about it before I visited the American Red Cross website this week. As you might expect, the pandemic has a lot to do with it.

I spoke this week with Kelly Isenor, the spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Massachusetts. She told me the national blood crisis is real and the Red Cross blood inventory nationwide is down to a one-day supply.

Isenor said fewer people are donating blood since the start of the pandemic. It is understandable that people might not want to leave their homes to donate blood, but both the Red Cross and Governor Charlie Baker believe blood donations are essential.

Isenor said Red Cross staffers are well trained on how to deal with COVID. All wear masks and practice social distancing.

Another issue is staffing. Some Red Cross staffers and volunteers may be sick, or caring for someone who is sick, and that's led to some collection sites having to close their doors.

Isenor is asking prospective blood donors to make an appointment beforehand. Blood donor information and a schedule of upcoming blood drives are available at redcrossblood.org.

Isenor's Townsquare Sunday interview can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday on 1420 WBSM. The program highlights individuals and organizations that are working to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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