By Jessica Mathews /

The American Red Cross has entered the third week of an emergency blood and platelet shortage and Livingston County residents are being encouraged to donate.

The Red Cross says the blood supply has dropped to the lowest post-summer level in at least six years. Officials say fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds from summer blood shortages, but a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. due to the delta variant has contributed to the lowest donor turnout of the year.

To shore up inventory, the Red Cross must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week this month to meet hospital and patient needs. With less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks, the Red Cross is asking donors of all blood types – especially type O − to make an appointment to give blood or platelets.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Red Cross is also reminding donors of the importance of blood to those undergoing treatment. Patients with breast cancer and other cancers may need blood products on a regular basis during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications. Nearly 25% of the blood supply is said to be used by cancer patients.

Those who donate in October are eligible for prizes. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

More information and a list of local drives are available in the attached release.